BOSTON (CBS) — Great moments in the 2019 Boston Red Sox season have been in short supply, but Chris Sale executed a pretty rare feat on Wednesday night in Baltimore.
The Sox’ left-hander pitched an immaculate inning in the bottom of the seventh inning, with the score tied at 1-1.
For those unfamiliar, an immaculate inning involves a pitcher throwing nine pitches, all of which are strikes, and recording three strikeouts in the frame.
Sale joins Pedro Martinez (2002), Clay Buchholz (2012) and Craig Kimbrel (2017) as the only pitchers in Red Sox history to record an immaculate inning.
Sale began the seventh by getting Hanser Alberto to strike out swinging at a fastball, after Alberto had fouled off two pitches to begin the at-bat. Sale then induced a trio of swings-and-misses from Dwight Smith Jr. for out No. 2, capping that strikeout with a slider. Stevie Wilkerson then took a called strike one before swinging through a pair of fastballs to end the inning.
MLB.com had it as the 96th immaculate inning in baseball history. For perspective, Mike Fiers’ no-hitter on Tuesday night was the 300th no-hitter in MLB history.
Sale went back out for the eighth inning, recording two more strikeouts to bring his total to 14 on the evening. It was Sale’s longest outing of the year and his highest strikeout total since May 11 of last season.
Jackie Bradley Jr. later made a dazzling home run-robbing catch in the 11th inning, and the Red Sox won 2-1 in 12 innings.