DETROIT -- After his fellow Detroit pitchers had struck out 32 Red Sox batters in the first two games of the ALCS, Justin Verlander took the mound Tuesday for Game 3 knowing he had a tough act to follow.
And he topped it.
Verlander tied a Major League Baseball postseason record by striking out six consecutive Sox in the second and third innings at Comerica Park. The mark, originally set by Hod Eller of the Cincinnati Reds against the "Black Sox" -- the team that threw the World Series -- in 1919, had been tied twice since then: by the Orioles' Moe Drabowsky against Dodgers in the 1966 World Series, and by the Cardinals' Todd Worrell against the Royals in the 1985 Series.
Verlander's streak started, ironically, after he'd walked David Ortiz to lead off the second. He fanned Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes to end that inning, then whiffed Stephen Drew, Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Ellsbury in the third.
The streak ended when Shane Victorino fouled out as he led off in the fourth.
John Lackey, meanwhile, nearly matched him in those same innings: He struck out Alex Avila and Omar Infante to end the second, and Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson to start the third. His four-in-a-row streak was snapped by Torii Hunter, who hit a soft grounder to second.
The MLB record for consecutive strikeouts in the regular season is 10, set by Tom Seaver of the New York Mets in 1970.