Astros throw pair of immaculate innings in victory over Rangers

Astros and Rangers officials said it was the first time in MLB history to have two nine-pitch, three-strikeout innings in the same game — either both by one team, or each team recording one.

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Astros relief pitcher Phil Maton throws during the seventh inning Wednesday.

Astros relief pitcher Phil Maton throws during the seventh inning Wednesday.

LM Otero/AP

ARLINGTON, Texas — Astros starter Luis Garcia and reliever Phil Maton each threw an immaculate inning — nine pitches, three strikeouts — and Martín Maldonado keyed a six-run first inning that sent Houston over the Texas Rangers 9-2 on Wednesday.

Maldonado hit a two-run double in the first and later homered for the AL West-leading Astros.

Garcia (4-5) struck out nine without a walk over six innings while limiting Texas to two runs and four hits. He had a span of five consecutive strikeouts that began with an immaculate second inning — when he threw only nine pitches to strike out Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran and Brad Miller.

Those were the first three batters Maton faced after replacing Garcia to start the seventh. And Maton also recorded a nine-pitch, three-strikeout inning.

Astros and Rangers officials said it was the first time in MLB history to have two nine-pitch, three-strikeout innings in the same game — either both by one team, or each team recording one.

The Astros sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning. The first nine faced fill-in starter Tyson Miller (0-1).

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