What is an Immaculate Inning in Baseball & MLB Records

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An immaculate inning in baseball represents a rare feat that highlights a pitcher’s precision, control, and dominance on the mound. This remarkable accomplishment not only showcases the pitcher’s skill but also captivates fans and connoisseurs of the sport, offering a glimpse into the pinnacle of pitching performance.

What is an Immaculate Inning in Baseball?

An immaculate inning in baseball is a rare and impressive achievement where a pitcher throws a minimum of nine pitches to retire three batters in succession, with each pitch resulting in a strike. This means that the pitcher secures three strikeouts in a row within a single inning, using exactly three pitches for each batter. Achieving an immaculate inning showcases a pitcher’s precision, skill, and dominance over the opposing team’s batters during that segment of the game. It is a feat that has been accomplished by only a select few pitchers in the history of baseball.

History of Immaculate Inning

The term ‘immaculate inning’ was first coined by Boston Red Sox pitcher Lefty Grove in 1922. He used it to describe his own performance where he struck out three batters using nine pitches in one inning against the Cleveland Indians. While this feat was previously achieved by other pitchers, Grove was the first to use the term ‘immaculate inning’ to describe it. Since then, this rare accomplishment has been known as an immaculate inning in baseball.

How Many Immaculate Innings Have There Been

As of the last recorded data, there have been 114 immaculate innings thrown in Major League Baseball. This statistic not only highlights the rarity of the achievement but also serves as a testament to the exceptional skill and precision required by pitchers to accomplish it. Each of these 114 instances stands as a remarkable milestone in the careers of the pitchers who achieved them, further enshrining their names in the history of baseball.

Two Immaculate Innings in One Game

Two immaculate innings occurring in a single game is an extremely rare and remarkable event in baseball. As of the latest data available, such an occurrence has only happened once in Major League Baseball history.

On June 15, 2022, during a game between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers, both Phil Maton and Luis García of the Houston Astros achieved immaculate innings. Maton accomplished this feat in the second inning, striking out Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Durán, and Brad Miller on nine pitches. Later in the game, in the seventh inning, Luis García replicated the feat by striking out the same three Texas Rangers batters—Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Durán, and Brad Miller—also on nine pitches.

How Rare Is an Immaculate Inning

An immaculate inning in baseball is an exceptionally rare occurrence. It happens when a pitcher strikes out all three batters he faces in one inning using the minimum possible number of pitches: nine. Considering the vast number of innings pitched in Major League Baseball history, the frequency of immaculate innings is incredibly low.

As of the most recent data available, there have been a total of 114 immaculate innings recorded in Major League Baseball history. Given that Major League Baseball has been played for well over a century and encompasses thousands of games each season, the occurrence of immaculate innings is exceedingly uncommon.

When Was the Last Immaculate Inning

The last immaculate inning occurred on May 24, 2023, and it was achieved by Johan Oviedo of the Pittsburgh Pirates. During the game against the Texas Rangers, Oviedo pitched a perfect inning in the fourth, striking out three batters on nine pitches. This immaculate inning marked the most recent occurrence of this rare feat in Major League Baseball.

Immaculate Inning in World Series

The only player to pitch an immaculate inning in the World Series. This player is Danny Jackson, and the feat occurred during Game 5 of the 1985 World Series.

Danny Jackson was a left-handed pitcher for the Kansas City Royals at the time. The 1985 World Series was a best-of-seven championship series between the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals. In Game 5 of the series, which took place on October 24, 1985, the Royals were facing elimination as they trailed the series 3-1.

During the seventh inning of Game 5, with the Royals leading 6-1, Danny Jackson took the mound. He proceeded to retire the side in order, facing three St. Louis Cardinals batters and striking them all out on the minimum possible number of pitches: nine. This remarkable achievement is known as an immaculate inning.

Jackson’s immaculate inning not only showcased his pitching prowess but also played a crucial role in helping the Royals secure a much-needed victory to stave off elimination. The Royals went on to win Game 5 with a final score of 6-1, extending the series to Game 6. Ultimately, the Royals emerged victorious in Game 7, clinching the World Series title in dramatic fashion.

Danny Jackson’s immaculate inning in the 1985 World Series remains a memorable moment in baseball history, highlighting the intensity and excitement of postseason play.

Pitchers with Most Immaculate Innings in MLB

he pitcher who holds the record for the most immaculate innings in Major League Baseball history is Sandy Koufax. Koufax achieved this remarkable feat three times over the course of his career.

Sandy Koufax was a left-handed pitcher who played for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1955 to 1966. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, known for his dominance on the mound during the 1960s. Koufax’s impeccable control and devastating fastball made him a formidable opponent for hitters.

Koufax’s first immaculate inning occurred on June 30, 1962, during a game against the New York Mets. In the first inning of that game, Koufax faced Richie Ashburn, Rod Kanehl, and Félix Mantilla of the Mets, striking out all three batters on nine pitches.

His second immaculate inning took place on April 19, 1963, in a game against the Houston Colt .45s (later renamed the Houston Astros). In the fifth inning of that game, Koufax faced Bob Aspromonte, Jim Campbell, and Turk Farrell, again striking out all three batters on nine pitches.

Finally, Koufax achieved his third immaculate inning on April 18, 1964, facing the Cincinnati Reds. In the third inning of that game, he struck out Leo Cárdenas, Johnny Edwards, and Jim Maloney on nine pitches.

Three Times Immaculate Innings

Following Koufax’s legendary footsteps, Chris Sale and Max Scherzer are the other two pitchers who have etched their names in MLB history by also accomplishing the feat of throwing an immaculate inning three times. This elite trio, comprising Koufax, Sale, and Scherzer, showcases the exceptional skill and precision needed to achieve such a rare pitching achievement, reinforcing their status as some of the most dominant pitchers in the game’s history.


In the annals of Major League Baseball, the immaculate inning stands out as a pinnacle of pitching prowess, a feat so rare and challenging that it underscores the remarkable skill and control of those who achieve it. Sandy Koufax, with his unparalleled dominance in the 1960s, first set the standard, not merely by his outstanding career but also by accomplishing three immaculate innings. His legacy, shared with the likes of Chris Sale and Max Scherzer, highlights not just individual achievement but the evolving art of pitching itself. These moments, crystallized in baseball history, serve as a testament to the extraordinary talent and relentless dedication required to excel at the highest levels of the sport. The stories of Koufax, Sale, and Scherzer, linked by this rare accomplishment, inspire both current players and future generations, cementing their place not only in the record books but in the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.

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James Arnold
I'm James, and I live in Stanislaus County, California. I'm playing Baseball for many years, and I love this sport so much that I also encourage my kids (Danny and Sara) to play Baseball & Softball.