Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale has been having an impressive season after a slow start. On Wednesday, Sale pitched his second immaculate inning of the year, meaning just nine pitches were needed to strike out the Kansas City Royals.
Sale began the bottom of the eighth inning by striking out Royals third baseman, Kelvin Gutierrez. Second baseman Nicky Lopez was Sale's second victim, and Royals catcher Martin Maldonado couldn't keep up with Sale's final pitch, a 98-mph fastball that had Maldonado strike out swinging.
The seven-time all-star ace completed his first immaculate inning on May 8 against the Baltimore Orioles. His historic performance on Wednesday makes him the first pitcher in over 90 years to throw two immaculate innings in a season since Lefty Grove did it in 1928.
Wednesday's game was Sale's 11th career game with 12 strikeouts and zero walks. He did allowed three hits though.
"I felt like I was able to throw my change up for a strike a little bit better," Sale told reporters after the game. "My slider was as good as it has been. As the game went on, I gained momentum and felt stronger."
Sale wrapped up the win with his third career shutout after the Red Sox bats gave him a comfortable 8-0 lead.
"Any time you can finish a game, that’s what you sign up for," said Sale. "I’ve never started a game I didn’t intend to finish."
Sale signed a brand new five-year contract extension with the Red Sox worth $145 million just before the season got started. So far, it appears the Red Sox are getting their money's worth as Sale has posted a 15 K/9 in his last nine starts strikeouts in seven of those games.
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