The Art of Baseball Mastery: What is a 3 Pitch Inning Called?

John Means

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3 Pitch Inning Called

In the world of baseball, where every pitch, swing, and play holds its own unique significance, there are moments that stand out as truly extraordinary.

One such moment is the elusive “3-pitch inning” – a rare and fewest pitches in an inning that leaves fans and players alike in awe. But what is a 3 pitch inning called, and why is it so special?

In this blog post, we dive into the world of baseball to uncover the essence of this exceptional feat. We’ll explore what it means, who has accomplished it, and the significance it holds within the sport’s rich history. 

From the pinpoint precision of the pitcher to the strategic finesse required to retire batters swiftly, we’ll unravel the beauty of the 3-pitch inning.

So, whether you’re a seasoned baseball enthusiast or just starting to appreciate the intricacies of the game, join us on this journey to discover the artistry behind what is a 3 pitch inning called. So, stay focused. 

What is a 3 Pitch Inning Called?

A 3-pitch inning in baseball is commonly referred to as an “immaculate inning.” So, what is a three-pitch inning called? In an immaculate inning, a pitcher faces three batters and strikes out all of them using just three consecutive pitches. 

This rare, fewest pitches in an inning, and impressive feat demonstrates exceptional pitching precision and dominance on the mound. 

Immaculate innings are considered a remarkable achievement in the sport, showcasing a pitcher’s ability to outmatch the opposing batters effortlessly. 

Since it requires such exceptional control and timing, only a select few pitchers in baseball history have been able to accomplish an immaculate inning, making it a memorable and celebrated moment in the game.

How Many 3 Pitch Innings Have There Been?

3 Pitch Innings Have There Been

There have been a relatively small number of recorded immaculate innings in Major League Baseball history. Here are some points to elaborate on the topic:

Rare Occurrence

Immaculate innings are extremely rare in baseball. Considering the thousands of games played over the years, they are a testament to the exceptional skills of the pitchers who achieve them.

Historical Perspective

Immaculate innings have been occurring since the early days of professional baseball. The first recorded instance dates back to 1889, making it a part of the sport’s rich history.

Multiple Immaculate Innings

Some pitchers have achieved the feat more than once in their careers. Notable examples include pitchers like Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, and Randy Johnson, each achieving it multiple times.

Modern Achievements

In the modern era, several pitchers have managed to record immaculate innings. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Max Scherzer are just a few examples.

Pitching Legends 

Immaculate innings are often associated with Hall of Fame-caliber pitchers who are known for their dominance on the mound. Achieving an immaculate inning adds to their legendary status.

Recent Immaculate Innings

While the overall number remains low, some recent immaculate innings have been recorded in the last few years before 2021, including by pitchers like Chris Sale and Tyler Glasnow.

Recognition and Celebration

When a pitcher accomplishes an immaculate inning, it’s widely celebrated by fans and the baseball community as a remarkable display of precision and skill. It often becomes a memorable moment in their career.

Statistical Anomaly

Immaculate innings are seen as a statistical anomaly, highlighting the fine line between success and failure in baseball and the extraordinary talent required to consistently throw three perfect strikes in a row.

Has There Ever Been a 3-Pitch Inning MLB?

Yes, there have been several 3 pitch innings in Major League Baseball (MLB) history where a pitcher retired all three batters faced with just three pitches. 

It’s an extremely rare occurrence, but it has happened. Some examples include:

Rex Brothers (2013)

Rex Brothers

While playing for the Colorado Rockies, Rex Brothers achieved a 3-pitch inning on May 17, 2013, against the San Francisco Giants.

Doug Brocail (1997)

Doug Brocail, then pitching for the San Diego Padres, accomplished a 3 pitch inning on July 24, 1997, against the Houston Astros.

Yusmeiro Petit (2012)

Yusmeiro Petit, while pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks, had a 3-pitch inning on May 28, 2012, against the San Francisco Giants.

It’s important to note that while these instances represent some of the recorded 3 pitch innings in MLB history, they are still quite rare and remarkable. Pitchers who achieve this feat demonstrate exceptional efficiency and accuracy on the mound.

The Statistical Rarity of 3 Pitch Inning

A 3-pitch inning in Major League Baseball (MLB) is an exceptionally rare and fewest pitches in an inning statistically improbable event. Here’s why it’s considered such a rarity:

Pitch Control

To achieve a 3 pitch inning, a pitcher must have extraordinary control and accuracy with their pitches. They need to consistently throw strikes to retire each batter quickly.

Opposing Batters

MLB batters are highly skilled and competitive, making it challenging to retire them in just three pitches. Batters often work the count, take pitches, and make the pitcher throw multiple pitches to try and get on base.

Variety of Pitches

Pitchers typically throw a mix of different pitches, including fastballs, breaking balls, and off-speed pitches, to keep batters off balance. To retire batters quickly, a pitcher must rely on effective pitch selection and placement.

Chance Factors

Baseball involves an element of chance. Even when a pitcher executes perfect pitches, a batter can still make contact or foul off pitches, extending the at-bat.

Pitch Counts

Pitch counts can affect a pitcher’s ability to achieve a 3 pitch inning. Pitchers often have limitations on the number of pitches they can throw in a game, so they may not always aim for the quickest possible outs.


Over the course of a baseball season, there are thousands of innings played, and relatively few of them result in 3-pitch innings. This rarity highlights the skill and precision required to accomplish such a feat.

The statistical rarity of a 3-pitch inning in MLB is a result of the combination of pitcher skill, batter skill, pitch selection, and chance factors.

Significance of 3 Pitch Inning

Significance of 3 Pitch Inning

A 3-pitch inning in Major League Baseball (MLB) holds significance for several reasons:


A 3 pitch inning showcases the pitcher’s exceptional efficiency on the mound. It demonstrates their ability to retire batters quickly and with minimal effort, which is highly desirable for a team as it conserves the pitcher’s energy for later innings.


Achieving a 3-pitch inning highlights the pitcher’s precise command of their pitches. It’s a testament to their ability to consistently throw strikes and hit their spots with pinpoint accuracy.

Mental Toughness

Pitching in baseball is as much a mental game as it is physical. A 3 pitch inning reflects the pitcher’s mental focus and composure, as they maintain their concentration and execute their pitches flawlessly.

Team Momentum

A quick 3 pitch inning can provide a boost to the pitcher’s team. It can shift momentum in their favor, energize the defense, and keep the opposing team off balance, which can be particularly valuable in close games.

Memorable Achievement

Achieving a 3 pitch inning is a memorable and rare accomplishment in the world of baseball. It’s a moment that fans and players alike remember and celebrate, adding to the lore of the sport.

Historical Significance

The relatively small number of recorded 3-pitch innings in MLB history adds historical significance to the achievement. It’s a statistic that is tracked and appreciated by baseball enthusiasts.

Pitcher’s Legacy

Pitchers who accomplish a 3-pitch inning can enhance their legacy and reputation as dominant pitchers. It becomes a part of their career highlights and showcases their skill.

Highlight Reel Material

A 3 pitch inning often makes it onto highlight reels and gets discussed in sports media, increasing the visibility and recognition of the pitcher and their team.

A 3 pitch inning is significant in baseball due to its rarity, its demonstration of pitcher efficiency and skill, its impact on the game’s momentum, and its place in the sport’s history and lore.


What is an immaculate inning in baseball?

An immaculate inning in baseball is when a pitcher faces three batters and strikes out all of them using just three consecutive pitches. It’s a remarkable and rare achievement that showcases exceptional pitching precision and control.

How rare is a 3 pitch inning?

A 3-pitch inning is extremely rare in Major League Baseball. Over the course of the sport’s history, there have been only a handful of recorded instances. 

It’s considered a remarkable feat, highlighting a pitcher’s exceptional accuracy and efficiency on the mound.

Who holds the record for the most immaculate innings in MLB history?

Several pitchers, including Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax, have achieved the feat of multiple immaculate innings. 

However, there isn’t a specific record holder for the most immaculate innings, as it’s a relatively uncommon achievement.

Can a 3 pitch inning occur in any inning of a baseball game?

Yes, a 3-pitch inning can occur in any inning of a baseball game, including the first inning or later innings. 

There are no specific inning requirements for achieving an immaculate inning; it’s solely based on the pitcher’s performance in a given inning.

Why is a 3 pitch inning considered significant in baseball?

A 3-pitch inning is significant because it demonstrates a pitcher’s extraordinary control, efficiency, and dominance on the mound. 

It’s a rare and memorable accomplishment, celebrated by fans and the baseball community as a testament to the pitcher’s skill and composure under pressure.

Wrapping Up

In the realm of baseball, where each moment carries its own unique allure, the 3-pitch inning shines as a testament to precision and mastery. Through this exploration, we’ve uncovered what this remarkable feat is called and delved into its significance.

A 3-pitch inning, often known as an “immaculate inning,” is a reflection of a pitcher’s extraordinary control and the mental fortitude required to navigate the intricacies of the sport. 

It stands as a beacon of efficiency, a rare jewel among the countless innings played in baseball’s illustrious history. As we reflect on the legends who’ve achieved this feat, we’re reminded of the awe-inspiring moments that define the game. Thank you so much. 

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John Means

John Means is a professional baseball player who has played in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics. He made his major league debut with the Royals in 2009. He was traded to the Athletics in 2012. Baseball is his favorite sport. His passion about the game is evident in his play. Now he write blogs about baseball and other things whenever he has some free time. LinkedIn

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