Red Sox ace Chris Sale joined Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers on record with three immaculate innings when he struck out the side on nine pitches in the third inning of Thursday night’s 12-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Sale was making his third start for Boston since returning from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2020 season.
He struck out Nick Gordon, Andrelton Simmons and Rob Refsnyder on three pitches each. Refsnyder was fooled badly by a slider in the dirt on the final pitch of the inning.
“Today was probably the best my mechanics have been start-to-finish. I really felt like I was staying on top of the baseball. I really kind of found it out in the bullpen before the game,” said Sale, who improved to 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA after the win.
Sale’s other immaculate innings came less than a month apart in 2019 when he did it against Baltimore on May 8 and Kansas City on June 5. He’s the first pitcher to throw an immaculate inning at Fenway Park since Pedro Martínez on May 18, 2002, vs. the Mariners.
Koufax completed his immaculate innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers between 1962 and 1964.
Sale is the first pitcher since 2000 with three immaculate innings; Kevin Gausman and Max Scherzer are tied for second in that span with two apiece.
MLB’s dearth of pitch-by-pitch statistics at various points throughout its history means there could be other pitchers who reached three or more immaculate innings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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