Joe Maddon put Brad Boxberger in a tough spot during Thursday night's Orioles-Rays game.
Maddon's starter, David Price, had allowed back-to-back singles and issued a free pass before being pulled from the game in the sixth inning. In came Boxberger, faced with the unenviable task of cleaning up a bases-loaded, no-out situation. What did the righty do? He struck out Steve Pearce on three pitches, then fanned Jonathan Schoop on three more. With escape in sight, Boxberger threw three more pitches and retired Caleb Joseph on another strikeout. Nine pitches, three strikeouts.
How many times has a pitcher struck out the side in order with the bases loaded? According to our own Andrew Koo, never. (Update: As Greg Wisniewski and Steve McEwen point out, Jesse Carlson struck out three straight with the bases loaded in 2008. He did not, however, do it on nine pitches.) Some pitchers have done K'd three batters after loading the bases*, but not in order, and since nobody has done it in order, that means no pitcher in recorded history (or since 1988, when we have pitch count data) has done it on nine pitches. So not only did Boxberger make history on Thursday night, but he made history in a way that cannot be topped.