Jannis ends up on short end of perfection

May 22nd, 2021

How do you achieve perfection on the mound and lose? Orioles Minor League knuckleballer learned the hard way his week.

Pitching for Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday night, Jannis threw five perfect innings of relief and took the loss in the Tides’ 5-4 defeat to Jacksonville. Jannis didn’t allow a hit, walk anyone or strike out a batter -- but he retired all 15 batters he faced. The result was perhaps the most pristine losing pitching line of all time.

OK, so how is that possible? The reason was the extra-inning rule, the same that went into effect at the big league level last season. Looking to preserve a 4-4 tie in the 10th, Jannis had to work around an automatic runner placed on second base to begin the inning. Jacksonville’s first batter, Bryson Brigman, sacrifice bunted automatic runner Corey Bird to third. Jannis then allowed Monte Harrison’s sac fly to score Bird with the go-ahead run.

The Tides went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 10th, and Jannis took the loss.

The decision was an unfortunate footnote to what’s been a strong start to the season for Jannis, a 33-year-old Minor League journeyman who made headlines this spring when a team-produced video of his knuckleball went viral. Jannis has held opponents to four earned runs in 12 1/3 innings over his first three appearances for the Tides, all in relief. If he earned a big league promotion this summer, he would be the only knuckleballer in the Majors.