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Chris Sale throws another immaculate inning

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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.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.