CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Kevin Gausman didn’t believe it when he returned to the dugout and was told that he threw an “immaculate inning” in the top of the ninth. Gausman struck out the side on nine pitches during Cincinnati's 5-4 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday at Great American
CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Kevin Gausman didn’t believe it when he returned to the dugout and was told that he threw an “immaculate inning” in the top of the ninth. Gausman struck out the side on nine pitches during Cincinnati's 5-4 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday at Great American Ball Park.
Although it’s become more common around the Major Leagues in recent years, Gausman is only the sixth pitcher for the Reds to achieve such a feat, and the first since Drew Storen did so vs. the Orioles on April 18, 2017.
“Honestly, I thought I did it in 10 [pitches],” Gausman said. “Then they brought me the lineup [card]. I said ‘I didn’t do it. I did it in 10.’ They said, ‘No, you did it in nine.’ Obviously for a pitcher, that’s as good as it gets. It’s fun when you can do it like that.”
Gausman took over in the eighth inning and struck out all six batters he faced on 23 pitches, with 19 strikes. In the ninth, the right-hander got Yairo Munoz, Dexter Fowler and Tommy Edman to all strike out swinging on his split-fingered fastball.
• Immaculate innings: 3 strikeouts on 9 pitches
“My fastball was up and my split was down. That’s about it,” Gausman said of his two innings. “I threw two sliders, both of them for strikes. One was taken for a strike, one with a swing and a miss. It was good. I felt pretty good.”
Four other pitchers this season have recorded immaculate innings: Josh Hader (Brewers), Thomas Pannone (Blue Jays), Chris Sale (Red Sox), who did so twice, and Stephen Strasburg (Nationals).
Gausman had been almost exclusively a starting pitcher since he arrived in the big leagues in 2013 with the Orioles, where he pitched for six seasons. He spent the last season and a half with the Braves, before he was claimed off waivers by the Reds on Aug. 5. Because of a full rotation, Cincinnati put him in the bullpen.
“That's exciting for us,” Reds manager David Bell said of Gausman’s performance. “I think when we acquired him, we right away recognized that he was somebody who had a chance to be really good in our bullpen. We have an opportunity, if we can add someone like him to the back end, that could really help us down the stretch.”
In his four appearances for the Reds, Gausman has a 2.57 ERA with two walks and 11 strikeouts over seven innings.
“I think one of the things when coming over that they really wanted me to focus on is my eyesight, where I’m looking and picking up the target earlier than maybe I have been,” Gausman said. “It’s definitely translating.”
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.