Sports | June 16, 2022 10:44 am

Houston Astros Make MLB History With Two Immaculate Innings in Same Game

Starter Luis Garcia and reliever Phil Maton each threw nine pitches to record three strikeouts — against the same three batters

Luis Garcia of the Houston Astros pitches against the Texas Rangers. He and Phil Maton both threw immaculate innings.
Luis Garcia was perfect, for one inning, for the Houston Astros against the Texas Rangers.
Ron Jenkins/Getty

Baseball is a sport that is full of statistics, as well as statistical anomalies.

For example, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. recorded three hits, three RBIs and a strikeout in five at-bats on Monday and also launched his 87th career home run to raise his career on-base percentage to .363. It was Guerrero Jr.’s 403rd career game for the Toronto Blue Jays. His father, Vladimir Guerrero, also began his career north of the border with the Montreal Expos. Amazingly, he also hit 87 home runs and had an OBP of .364. through his first 403 career games. Like father, like son.

Right up there with Guerrero Jr. mirroring his father on Monday was what Houston hurlers Luis Garcia and Phil Maton did on the mound on Wednesday night for the Astros during a 9-2 win over the Texas Rangers. Garcia, who started the game and struck out nine without a walk over six innings, threw only nine pitches to strike out Texas batters Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran and Brad Miller in the second to record the first immaculate inning of his career. Facing Maton in the seventh, Lowe, Duran and Miller went down again by way of the K on just nine pitches.

Per MLB.com, it’s the first time there were two immaculate innings on the same date, let alone in the same game or by the same team. That Garcia and Maton did it against the same three hitters is just icing on the cake.

At the center of both perfect innings was catcher Martin Maldonado,  a 35-year-old veteran who said afterward he didn’t remember ever being involved with an immaculate inning on any level during his baseball career. “To be a part of that…Any time you make history, that’s something as any player you’re proud of,” he said. “I’m glad I was the catcher in that situation.”

For Houston manager Dusty Baker, who turned 73 on Wednesday, it was quite a birthday present. “A couple of records, the same guys we struck them out back-to-back-to-back with nine pitches…So it was a good day for us,” Baker said.

Of the 106 recorded immaculate innings in major league history, only one has been thrown this season other than the two that were tossed yesterday. On April 17 at Baltimore, New York Yankees starter Nestor Cortes had one against the Orioles. The Astros are now tied with the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers for the most immaculate innings of all time for a franchise with nine each.