A third strike so impressive, it buckled the pitcher

June 30th, 2023

PHOENIX -- Yonny Chirinos didn’t slip up much as he pitched six strong relief innings and earned the win in the Rays’ 6-1 win over the D-backs on Thursday afternoon at Chase Field.

Except for when he literally slipped on the mound, that is.

Chirinos offered a reminder that baseball is not only a game, but a vehicle for other forms of entertainment while finishing off an inning-ending strikeout against Alek Thomas in the fifth.

Chirinos was ahead in the count, 1-2, and was looking to get a little bit extra on his next sinker. He fired one at 94 mph, the hardest of his 84 pitches on the day, and Thomas took the inside pitch for a called third strike. But as the right-hander landed, his left foot gave out, sending him crashing to the mound.

“That always happens,” said Chirinos, smiling, through interpreter Manny Navarro. “When you've got those two strikes and you want to go a little extra aggressive, that's the effectiveness that I wanted on that pitch.”

Chirinos said that wasn’t the first time he’s taken a trip like that. Fortunately, no pitchers were harmed in the process of this tumble. As Chirinos walked off the mound, he couldn’t suppress a grin directed toward catcher Francisco Mejía.

Suffice it to say, Chirinos was on the receiving end of some good-natured jokes from his teammates after his fall.

“They're everywhere, all laughing, but I was just not trying to get out of my focus level at that point,” Chirinos said. “They were laughing, but it's part of the game.”

“It's something that's fun,” shortstop Wander Franco said through Navarro, “and something we can laugh at.”