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.
2019 has not been kind to the Seattle Mariners. After starting the year 13-2, the club has gone 41-71 since, earning last place in the AL West. To give credit where credit is due, however, the Mariners were on something of a roll, entering Wednesday afternoon’s series road trip finale against the Rays on a four-game winning streak. However, the M’s lost Wednesday’s contest in very depressing fashion.
Entering the top of the ninth inning, the Mariners trailed the Rays 5-3, but a solo homer by Daniel Vogelbach and a two-run triple by Mallex Smith sent them into the bottom half of the ninth leading 6-5. Manager Scott Servais sent Matt Magill — acquired from the Twins exactly one month ago — to the mound to close out the game.
Kevin Kiermaier greeted Magill rudely, starting the inning by swatting a game-tying solo home run to center field. Magill would then allow a single to Willy Adames and a double to Michael Brosseau before intentionally walking Ji-Man Choi to load the bases with no outs. Tommy Pham worked the count to 1-2 when Magill spiked a breaking ball in the dirt that catcher Omar Narváez had little hope of corralling. The ball skipped away and the Rays walked off 7-6 winners on a wild pitch, a very on-brand sentence for the 2019 Mariners.