With seven of his 11 wins in 2012 coming on the heels of a Red Sox loss, Clay Buchholz is the Red Sox stopper. On Thursday night, he halted another Boston skid, pitching the Sox to a 6-3 win against the Baltimore Orioles to avoid a three-game sweep at Camden Yards.
Amidst this shambolic season for the Sox, Buchholz authored a truly remarkable moment in the Charm City. The 28-year-old right-handed pitcher struck out the side on just nine pitches in the bottom of the sixth.
As recorded by Gameday at MLB.com, here are the pitches that Buchholz threw to construct his immaculate sixth inning.
Buchholz vs. Adam Jones (Batting: Right)
Strike 1. Called strike on 77-mph curve
Strike 2. Swinging strike on 77-mph curve
Strike 3. Called strike on 90-mph cutter
Buchholz vs. Matt Weiters (Batting: Left)
Strike 1. Foul on 91-mph four-seam fastball
Strike 2. Swinging strike on 89-mph cutter
Strike 3. Called strike on 93-mph four-seam fastball
Buchholz vs. Chris Davis (Batting: Left)
Strike 1. Foul on 92-mph four-seam fastball
Strike 2. Foul on 91-mph cutter
Strike 3. Swinging strike on 86-mph splitter
For those keeping track at home, that's just three balls that ever felt wood, three swinging strikes and three called strikes across three O's batters. Speaking of those who keep track, STATS Inc. tweeted that Buchholz's nine-pitch, three-K inning was the 47th of its kind in MLB history.
With Felix Hernandez throwing just the 23rd perfect game in MLB annals a day earlier, innings like Buchholz's are apparently about twice as likely to occur as a full nine-inning perfecto.
Should that make them half as impressive?
For context, Hernandez threw 77 of his 113 pitches for strikes in his 1-0 perfect game win over the Tampa Bay Rays. He struck out the side twice and notched 12 punch outs altogether. Hernandez needed 15 pitches to strike out the side in the sixth and 12 in the eighth.