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Astros’ Luis Garcia pitches immaculate inning in Grapefruit League appearance

It may only be spring training, but Houston Astros pitcher Luis Garcia must feel like he’s in midseason form after pitching an immaculate inning Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals.

During a flawless bottom of the fifth fifth inning during the Astros’ 11-8 comeback win at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the ultra-rare immaculate inning feat was accomplished when Garcia struck out the side — Alex Avila, Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles — on only nine pitches.

“I was throwing the ball, that’s it,” Garcia said, via “Thinking in the dugout, waiting for the next inning, I thought ‘Oh my God, I think I threw a perfect inning.’ Then whoop, I did.”

Garcia was sharp during his entire appearance Wednesday against the Nationals, throwing four scoreless innings while striking out five batters and allowing two hits and two walks.

“He was very good tonight,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s the best outing he’s had this spring. He was operating from behind because he was out for a while [in quarantine]. His changeup was sharp, his breaking ball was sharp, his fastball was electric. He threw the ball great tonight, and I’m hoping we can see a lot more of those immaculate innings. Makes it easy on a manager.”

Immaculate innings are unsurprisingly quite rare. Only 102 such masterfully pitched innings have occurred during MLB regular-season history. The last one came on Sept. 18, 2020, when Cleveland Indians right-hander Zach Plesac went three-up and three-down on only nine pitches while fanning Detroit Tigers batters Jorge Bonifacio, Niko Goodrum and Austin Romine in the second inning.