Less than a month after throwing an immaculate inning — three strikeouts on nine pitches in one inning — against the Orioles, Red Sox starter Chris Sale did it again on Wednesday against the Royals.
With the Red Sox leading 8-0, Sale went change-up, fastball, slider to retire Kelvin Gutiérrez to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. Sale fanned Nicky Lopez with a slider, a fastball, and a slider. To end the inning, Sale backed up two sliders with a fastball for strike three against Martín Maldonado.
Sale has two of the four immaculate innings thrown this season. The Brewers’ Josh Hader accomplished the first on March 30 against the Cardinals and the Blue Jays’ Thomas Pannone notched an immaculate inning on April 14 against the Rays. There were four immaculate innings in 2018 after a record eight in 2017. The only other pitchers to have thrown multiple immaculate innings are Lefty Grove, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax (three), Nolan Ryan, and Max Scherzer.
Sale polished off the shutout by pitching a scoreless ninth. On the night, he held the Royals to three hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts. He now owns a 3.84 ERA with a 110/19 K/BB ratio in 77 1/3 innings on the season.