By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Craig Kimbrel has not been known to excel when pitching in non-traditional situations for a closer, but on Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee, he was as perfect as can be.
Manager John Farrell called upon Kimbrel in the eighth inning of a tie game, and much like Kimbrel did this past Sunday in Minnesota, the closer kept the opponent at bay and got out of the inning.
And, following Mookie Betts’ three-run homer to give the Sox a 4-1 lead, Kimbrel came back out for the ninth and authored an immaculate inning: nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts.
Here’s how the ninth inning played out:
Hernan Perez: Strike looking, strike swinging, strike swinging
Travis Shaw: Strike looking, strike looking, strike looking
Domingo Santana: Foul strike, strike swinging, strike swinging
Kimbrel joins Pedro Martinez (2002) and Clay Buchholz (2012) as the only pitchers in Red Sox history to accomplish the feat.
Kimbrel earned the win, his second of the season, as he continues a run of dominance and dropped his ERA to 1.15. All five of the outs he recorded Thursday came via strikeout, bringing his season total to 31 in 15.2 innings.