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Red Sox’ Chris Sale joins Sandy Koufax as only pitchers to throw three immaculate innings

Chris Sale struck out the Twins in order of nine pitches in third inning.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

For the third time in his career, lefthander Chris Sale delivered an immaculate inning on Thursday night in a 12-2 win against the Twins at Fenway Park.

In the third inning, Sale struck out the side in order on nine pitches. Nick Gordon struck out swinging at a 93-mile-per-hour mph fastball, Andrelton Simmons waved feebly at a 95-m.p.h. heater, and Rob Refsnyder was unable to check his swing on a slider.

Sale, who had two immaculate innings in 2019, became the first pitcher since Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax to record three immaculate innings in his career. The frame marked the seventh such inning in Red Sox history.


Pedro Martinez (2002), Clay Buchholz (2012), Craig Kimbrel (2017), and Rick Porcello (2017) are the other Red Sox pitchers to accomplish the feat.

Through three innings, Sale had six strikeouts without allowing a hit. He had 10 swings-and-misses on 38 pitches, with his best fastball (regularly 93-95 m.p.h.) and slider (five swings and misses, one more than he had in his first two starts combined) since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.