CINCINNATI -- They call it an immaculate inning. Nine pitches, nine strikes, three K's. Inning over. And, in this case, game over as the Reds beat the Orioles, 9-3, on Tuesday night.Drew Storen may have taken the mound in the ninth in a non-save situation, but he brought his best
CINCINNATI -- They call it an immaculate inning. Nine pitches, nine strikes, three K's. Inning over. And, in this case, game over as the Reds beat the Orioles, 9-3, on Tuesday night.
Drew Storen may have taken the mound in the ninth in a non-save situation, but he brought his best stuff with him. He became the fourth Reds pitcher to accomplish the feat, joining Hod Eller (Aug. 21, 1917, vs. N.Y. Giants), Rob Dibble (June 4, 1989, vs. Padres) and Carlos Contreras (July 11, 2014, vs. Pirates).
The last time it happened in the Major Leagues was last season on July 4, when the Pirates' Juan Nicasio did it against the Cardinals, setting down Stephen Piscotty, Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina. 76 pitchers have struck out the side on the minimum nine pitches. The feat has occurred 82 times, with three pitchers having done it twice -- and Sandy Koufax accomplishing the feat three times.
Storen, the fourth Reds reliever of the night, started the first batter of the ninth, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, with a called strike on a 91.5 mph sinker. He then swung and missed at a 91.2 mph sinker and, finally, a slider at 80.9 mph. Shortstop J.J. Hardy followed and also started with a called first strike, a 91.3 mph sinker, then swung at an 80.3 mph slider before taking an 89.8 mph sinker on the outside edge of the plate for strike three.
Pinch-hitter Hyun Soo Kim wrapped up the game by taking two strikes -- a slider and a changeup -- before missing a 79.2 mph slider down and in to complete the feat.
It doesn't get any better than that.
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 and listen to his podcast.