Orioles catcher Jesus Sucre pitched a 1-2-3 ninth; here are 1-2-3 fun facts

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Sucre, 30, needed just nine pitches to retire the top of the White Sox's lineup — Leury Garcia, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu — in order.

Orioles catcher Jesus Sucre pitched a 1-2-3 ninth; here are 1-2-3 fun facts

Sucre, 30, needed just nine pitches to retire the top of the White Sox's lineup — Leury Garcia, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu — in order.

The flare went up on social media when Orioles catcher Jesus Sucre entered Monday's game against the White Sox.

What's the big deal? He entered as pitcher.

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Here's the best part, though: Sucre, 30, retired the top of the White Sox's lineup — Leury Garcia, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu — in order.

That's no small feat, considering that trio was 5 for 13 with a home run and five RBIs through the first eight innings.

Sucre got Garcia and Moncada to ground out, and then retired Abreu on a fly out to right field to end the top of the ninth.

He used nine pitches to get the 1-2-3 inning.

With that in mind, here are 1-2-3 fun facts about Sucre's perfect frame.

1. Of his nine pitches, eight were fastballs.

OK, "fastball" oversells Sucre's heat.

In fact, the fastballs he threw were so not-fast that MLB Statcast classified all as breaking balls, presumably because of their velocity. But after the game, the veteran catcher revealed that eight of the nine pitches he threw were fastballs.

"It's more easy for the hitters if you throw harder," Sucre told reporters (via ESPN.com), so this was all part of the strategy. In fact, Sucre had made five previous mound appearances and his fastball had been clocked at up to 90.3 mph, not overpowering but not bad.

Sucre's hardest pitch Monday: 69.3 mph. The one actual breaking ball: 53.6 mph.

2. His three up-three down effort was not unique.

In fact, Sucre, who became the ninth position player to pitch in the majors this season, per ESPN Stats & Information, isn't even the first catcher to throw a 1-2-3 inning.

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin and Indians catcher Kevin Plawecki accomplished the feat this season, the only other non-pitchers to do it in 2019.

Maybe catchers know something hitters don't.

"If you don't throw hard, it's going to be hard for the hitters," Sucre said.

3. Don't think this won't happen again.

No, not the 1-2-3 inning but seeing a position player on the mound for the Orioles, who've lost five of six and 14 of 18 and are 1-10 at home and 8-16 overall.

Utilityman Hanser Alberto and first baseman Chris Davis already had pitched this season before Sucre worked his perfect inning.

"We've been having tough games the last couple days," Sucre said. "I'm here to help my guys."

A little context: Before this season, in the 65 years the Orioles have been in Baltimore, they had used non-pitchers to pitch only nine times. This season is some three weeks old and they've done it three times.

On the bright side: The last-place Orioles had MLB's worst team ERA (6.37) after Monday's loss, but Sucre's clean inning didn't contribute.

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