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Chris Martin throws immaculate inning vs. Phillies

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Braves reliever Chris Martin had the adventure of a lifetime, tossing an immaculate inning — a 1-2-3 inning with three strikeouts on nine pitches — in the seventh inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Phillies. The right-hander was an army of one, fanning César Hernández, Jay Bruce, and Logan Morrison to send the game to the eighth.

Martin knows that everything’s not lost, as he entered the game with a 5.40 ERA in 13 1/3 innings since being acquired by the Braves from the Rangers on July 30. It was a hopeful transmission by the Braves, who also bolstered their bullpen by acquiring Shane Greene and Mark Melancon ahead of the trade deadline.

Martin’s immaculate inning is the seventh of the 2019 season, joining Josh Hader, Thomas Pannone, Chris Sale (twice), Stephen Strasburg, and Kevin Gausman. There have been 99 known total immaculate innings in baseball history by 91 different pitchers. It’s an achievement that has the hitters believing the pitches are coming in at the speed of sound.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.