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Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez once struck out Ichiro en route to an immaculate inning

Fly balls are efficient, ground balls are democratic and most pitchers will take an out any way they can get it. But strikeouts ... that's what aces live for. And in the early aughts, Pedro Martinez was an ace's ace.

Between 1999 and 2003, Pedro went 82-21, led the Majors in ERA in four of those five seasons and struck out 1,205 hitters in just 933 innings. Three of those strikeouts came in the top of the first inning against the Mariners on May 18, 2002 ... and Pedro needed only nine pitches to do it.

Immaculate.GIF

Nine pitches, nine strikes, three strikeouts. It was just the 58th immaculate inning in MLB history. More than that, the feat came in the first inning for just the fourth time in history. And -- perhaps most impressively -- Pedro's first strikeout victim was reigning AL MVP and the most difficult hitter to strike out in all of baseball, Ichiro Suzuki.