BOSTON (CBS) — Chris Sale joined some exclusive company Thursday night, tossing another “immaculate inning” for the Red Sox. It was the third time the Boston ace has accomplished the feat in his career, and all three came in a Red Sox uniform.
In the third inning of Boston’s 12-2 win over the Minnesota Twins, Sale struck out Nick Gordon, Andrelton Simmons and Rob Refsnyder on nine pitches. All three went down swinging, with Gordon and Simmons fanning on high fastballs while Refsnyder couldn’t hold his swing on one of Sale’s filthy sliders.
It was quite the sight to see:
IMMACULATE CHRIS SALE. pic.twitter.com/sDnJ6jPuso
— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 27, 2021
It was Sale’s first immaculate inning at Fenway Park, as his other two came one the road during the 2019 season: June 5, 2019 in Kansas City and May 8, 2019 in Baltimore. With a trio of immaculate innings, Sale joins some great company, as only he and legendary left-hander Sandy Koufax have thrown three.
Chris Sale joins Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers to throw 3 immaculate innings. pic.twitter.com/pDxef2eYNu
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) August 27, 2021
Sale’s immaculate inning was the fourth in baseball this season, as Washington’s Kyle Finnegan and Michael King and Chad Green — both of the Yankees — all struck out the side on nine pitches in 2021.
The Boston ace ended up going 5.1 innings against Minnesota, striking out eight while allowing two runs off a pair of hits (including a two-run homer by Willians Astudillo) and two walks. He threw 80 pitches, 55 of which were strikes, with his fastball consistently in the mid 90s. He left in the top of the sixth with two on and one out.
Sale wasn’t thrilled that his evening ended early, but added that he pitched angry on Thursday night.
“That’s probably the most pissed I’ve been on a baseball field in a while,” he said after his outing. “That’s just coming out of anger and frustration. I like to call those F-U fastballs — I can’t really say the word. But I got pissed, I got going, and today was probably the best my mechanics have been start to finish.”
Boston certainly needs an angry Sale going forward. The southpaw improved to 3-0 since returning from Tommy John surgery, with his ERA now at 2.35. He’s struck out 21 batters over 15.1 innings, providing the Red Sox rotation with a much-needed ace as the team tries to hang on to a Wild Card spot.