Red Sox starter Chris Sale struck out three Orioles on nine pitches in the bottom of the seventh inning of Wednesday night’s start in Baltimore. That is what’s known as an “immaculate inning,” and he’s the third pitcher to accomplish the feat this season, joining the Blue Jays’ Thomas Pannone and the Brewers’ Josh Hader.
Sale mowed down Hanser Alberto to start the inning on a pair of sliders followed by a fastball. The lefty then set down Dwight Smith Jr. with a fastball followed by two sliders. To end the inning, Sale ripped increasingly faster fastballs by Stevie Wilkerson.
There have been 96 known immaculate innings. Five have been tossed by members of the Red Sox: Sale, Rick Porcello, Craig Kimbrel, Clay Buchholz, and Pedro Martínez.
Sale brought a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, but lost it with two outs when Joey Rickard singled to center field. He has not pitched well overall this season, but he may be figuring things out. In his last start against the White Sox, he struck out 10 batters over six scoreless innings.
With a ninth-inning solo home run off of Royals pitcher Jacob Barnes on Sunday, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso set a new National League rookie record for home runs in a single season. He now has 40 with 36 games left in the regular season.
Cody Bellinger, currently the home run leader with 42, hit 39 home runs in his rookie season in 2017, holding the record until today. The major league record is 52, set by the Yankees’ Aaron Judge also in 2017. Judge had broken Mark McGwire’s record of 49 hit in 1987.
Alonso went 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI double, and three runs scored along with the homer. He’s now batting .271 with a .979 OPS with 40 homers and 95 RBI on the season.
With their 11-5 win over the Royals, the Mets improved to 64-60. They have the same exact record as the Phillies and Brewers, sitting 1.5 games out of the second Wild Card.