baseball

The Astros set a record against the Rangers with two Immaculate Innings

On September 27, 1928, in the seventh inning of a game between the Philadelphia Athletics and the Chicago White Sox, Athletics’ Lefty Grove beat Moe Berg, Tommy Thomas and Johnny Mostil with at least nine pitches.

It was 9,112 days – just 25 years short – before another so-called clean innings. It came against the White Sox in 1953 courtesy of the Detroit Tigers’ Billy Hoft.

If you think fate is conspiring against the White Sox, consider what happened to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.

In the second inning of the game between the Houston Astros and Rangers at the Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the Astros right-hander Luis Garcia recorded a perfect innings by striking Nathaniel Lowe, Ezekiel Duran and Brad Miller on just nine pitches. Five innings later, the right-hander for the Astros, Phil Matton, did the same thing – facing the same three batters. They are the 106th and 107th innings in major league history.

The Astros won 9-2 as the Rangers tried to figure out what hit them.

Miller said of Garcia and Matton: “We obviously knew they were traveling pretty well. I just wanted to take some good swings and I wish they didn’t get it.”

Martin Maldonado, a Houston catcher, can’t tell the press that they are part of a pure innings, let alone two.

“To be a part of it, anytime you make history – I’m glad I got caught in that situation,” he said.

Two clean innings is a mind-blowing event in many ways, as it is not the first time that this has been done against the same three batters and the first time two such innings have been pitched on the same date. In the same game.

Against Garcia, the Rangers batters managed to foul five of their nine pitches. Two batters missed three for a swing and a strike, while one fell on Maldonado’s foul tip. Matton dominated a little bit, batters fouled on just three pitches, outs recorded on foul tip, called strike and swing strike.

Although still rare, pure innings, such as no-hitters and strikeouts, is more common in modern hitters and pitchers with all or nothing.

Between 1876 and 1921, there were only three recorded instances of spotless innings. There were five in the 1920s, Grove being the last. Things took a significant turn in the 1930s or 1940s, with none in the 1930s or 1940s, and with each of the next few decades looking a handful.

Pitchers, it seems, are just getting started. There were 37 pure innings in the 2010s, and the 2020 epidemic has reduced the 2020 general season from 162 to 60 games, and 2022 is in its third month.

Except for a major change in strategy from hitters and pitchers, achievement should continue to be an unlimited event. But the odds of it happening twice in the game against the same three batters will stand out for decades to come.

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