Judge wins duel against Tampa Bay ace McClanahan, Astros pull off rare pitching feat twice

By Sports Desk June 15, 2022

In a battle between two of the best teams and best pitchers in the majors, Nestor Cortes' New York Yankees prevailed 4-3 at home against Shane McClanahan's Tampa Bay Rays.

McClanahan is the current favourite to win the AL Cy Young Award while Cortes is close behind, and they both put on spectacular performances in Wednesday's top fixture.

It was a rocky start for McClanahan, who was punished in the very first inning by American League MVP favourite Aaron Judge, connecting on his league-leading 25th home run of the season to make it 1-0. Nobody else has hit more than 18 home runs.

That was the only earned run McClanahan would give up, although a fielding error in the fifth inning and an intentional walk set up a three-run Kyle Higashioka blast to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead.

McClanahan finished with seven strikeouts in six complete innings, allowing three hits and two walks.

Cortes held the Rays scoreless through five innings, eventually getting pulled in the sixth after the visitors finally got their first run on the board via a Manuel Margot RBI double.

Choi Ji-man's RBI base hit in the eighth inning cut the margin to 4-2, and Rene Pinto followed suit as the very next batter to make it 4-3. Clay Holmes was able to hold his nerve in the ninth frame to secure the save and the win for the Yankees.

After their performances, McClanahan (1.84 ERA) and Cortes (1.94 ERA) are two of only seven starting pitchers this season to allow fewer than two runs per nine innings.

The win moves the Yankees' league-leading record to 46-16 – six games clear of the New York Mets in second (41-23).

Astros' immaculate showing

The Houston Astros pitched two immaculate innings in their 9-2 road win against the Texas Rangers to retain the fourth-best record in the majors at 39-24.

After the Astros piled on six runs in the opening frame, including two-run doubles from both Yordan Alvarez and Martin Maldonado, Houston starter Luis Garcia took control.

In the second inning, Garcia struck out all three batters, throwing just nine pitches, with all being strikes, for a rare immaculate inning.

Incredibly, the feat was repeated in the seventh frame by Astros reliever Phil Maton, who also collected his three strikeouts in nine pitches. It is the first time in MLB history that a team has thrown two immaculate innings in the same game.

Phillies win in last-gasp walk-off

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs was the hero in his side's 3-1 home victory against the Miami Marlins.

Kyle Gibson was terrific on the mound for the Phillies, giving up one run from seven hits and no walks, pitching eight full innings and striking out six – but his team trailed 1-0 going into the ninth frame.

After a lead-off strikeout, Alec Bohm singled, and J.T. Realmuto walked, but another strikeout meant Stubbs was the last chance to make something happen – and he duly responded.

From the fifth pitch of his at-bat, with two strikes, Stubbs connected on a hanging slider and sent it over the fence for a game-winning three-run homer. It is the Phillies' 11th win from their past 13 games.

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