Ildemaro Vargas’ two-run homer in the ninth inning, which gave the Washington Nationals a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, left Seattle Mariners rookie George Kirby with nothing to regret even though his club ultimately lost. Kirby had started the game with a game-high performance on the mound.
Kirby established a major league record by throwing 24 straight strikes to begin the game. He struck out nine batters in seven innings of work while allowing just one run on eight hits without a walk. Even though he threw 24 pitches in his 24-pitch outing, Kirby didn’t throw a pitch that the home-plate umpire called a ball until the third inning. (Regardless of whether they are inside or outside the strike zone, pitches that result in hits or outs are regarded as strikes.)
The dedication of Kirby to pounding hitters with strikes is evidence that the Seattle pitching staff’s motto of “Dominate The Zone” is working. Kirby has 102 strikeouts as opposed to just 13 walks and an ERA of 3.32 on the season.
“They have been preaching it from the beginning, and I have lived up to their teachings. I simply go in and launch an assault. You won’t be able to do too badly by simply striking. That’s the current strategy, he said. “Just strike. I’ve spent my whole life doing it. I try to focus on making really good strikes in the corners; that’s what I’ve been doing. You occasionally throw one in the middle.
Oneil Cruz, a second-year shortstop for the Braves, made MLB history by turning on Kyle Wright’s first-pitch slider and hitting it harder than any ball in Statcast history has ever been hit. It was a night of firsts for young players in the league.
Despite barely getting a single, the young Pirate’s 122.4 mph bomb nearly left PNC Park but instead bounced off a 21-foot wall in right field.
Cruz’s single would have been a home run in 26 ballparks, according to Statcast.
Cruz stated, “Some teammates told me that I hit 122 [mph] when I came into the dugout. I grinned, secretly thinking, “Wow, I hit that ball hard. Now that I’ve learned I broke a record; it means a lot to me. That’s a good thing to take away from the game today.
The Pirates got hammered 14-2 by the Braves, so that was the only bright spot.