2 immaculate innings thrown in 1 game for first time

June 15th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Astros catcher  had no idea that he'd been part of history on Wednesday when he threw a ball to third baseman Alex Bregman after reliever  had struck out Rangers third baseman Brad Miller to end the seventh inning.

Maldonado immediately heard calls from the third-base dugout to retrieve the ball, and suddenly it came to him. Maton had struck out the side on nine pitches -- an immaculate inning. Not only that, it was the SECOND one of the game for the Astros, after starter Luis Garcia threw one in the second inning of the 9-2 win at Globe Life Field.

“Everybody in the dugout was like, ‘I need that ball! I need that ball!’” Maldonado said. “To be a part of that ... Any time you make history, that's something as any player you’re proud of. I’m glad I was the catcher in that situation.”

History indeed. It’s the first time on record that there were two immaculate innings on the same date, let alone in the same game or by the same team, and Garcia and Maton did it against the same three hitters: Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran and Miller.

“It feels so good, because it’s history,” said Garcia, who struck out nine and allowed one earned run in six innings. “I’m so happy for me and for Phil. I don’t know what to say. I’m just happy.”

Garcia became the eighth and Maton the ninth pitchers in Astros history to throw immaculate innings, and the first since Will Harris on Sept. 27, 2019. There are 105 immaculate innings on record in Major League history.

Astros immaculate innings
Phil Maton, June 15, 2022, at TEX
Luis Garcia, June 15, 2022, at TEX
Will Harris, Sept. 27, 2019, at LAA
Brandon Backe, April 15, 2004, vs. MIL
Shane Reynolds, July 15, 1999, vs. DET
Randy Johnson, Sept. 2, 1998, at ATL
Mike Magnante, Aug. 22, 1997, vs. COL
Pete Harnisch, Sept. 6, 1991, vs. PHI
Bob Bruce, April 19, 1964, vs. STL (Colt 45s)

Garcia, like Maton, had the ball he threw for the final strikeout of the sequence authenticated with the help of pitching coach Josh Miller, and it was sitting in his locker after the game.

“It’s super cool,” Maton said. “It’s not something you go out here every day and obviously strive to do. Obviously, you're trying to strike out every hitter you face. Still kind of trying to wrap my head around it. Cool experience.”

Before beginning his day, Garcia had to wait out a 30-minute top half of the first inning that saw Maldonado cap a six-run outburst with a two-run double. Garcia wound up throwing 31 pitches, allowing just one earned run.

Garcia found his groove in the second inning. He struck out Lowe on a four-seam fastball and two cutters, whiffed Duran on a cutter and two sliders, and struck out Miller on a curveball, a changeup and a cutter. All three strikeouts were swinging.

“After I got the second strikeout, I already knew [I had a chance],” Garcia said. “When I was throwing a perfect game in the fifth [earlier this year], I didn’t want to think of that, but this time I thought of it. I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ I’m glad that happened.”

Garcia was chatting with a teammate when the dugout erupted in the seventh after Maton finished his immaculate frame, throwing nine consecutive fastballs to strike out Lowe, Duran and Miller. Lowe struck out on a foul tip, Duran struck out looking and Miller went down swinging.

"We obviously knew they were cruising pretty good,” Miller said. “I wish I would have taken some better swings, and wish they didn't get it."

Maton started thinking about throwing an immaculate inning after he struck out Duran.

“I was starting to get a little anxious, because Maldy kept calling fastballs and ultimately I stuck with his game plan in that situation and we just kept throwing them,” he said.

Manager Dusty Baker thought he had seen just about everything there could possibly be seen during his 18-year career as a player and 25-plus years as a coach and manager. Now he can add two immaculate innings to the list.

“I heard everybody screaming and hollering and I was like, ‘What are they talking about?’” Baker said. “None was happier than our pitching coach, Miller. It was a good day for us.”