By Scott Barancik, editor

When the Kannapolis Intimidators handed reliever Brad Goldberg the ball Sunday (7/21/2013) with one out in the 4th inning and men on second and third bases, the odds of a historic outing were slim.

A 10th-round pick of the Chicago White Sox this June, Goldberg had only six minor-league appearances under his belt and hadn’t pitched in a week. Baseball America’s pre-draft scouting report said this about the 23-year-old: “Goldberg lacks deception and doesn’t miss a lot of bats.”

But miss bats he did Sunday against the West Virginia Power (see box score). In 3.2 innings of relief, the 6-foot-4-inch, 228-pound Ohio native struck out 8 of the eleven batters he faced, yielded no hits, didn’t allow a ball out of the infield, and saw his only imperfection — a one-out walk in the 6th inning — erased by a double play. Seven of the 8 batters he fanned struck out swinging.

How unusual was Goldberg’s performance? Among minor leaguers we can’t say, since detailed historical statistics are not publicly available.

But in the Major Leagues, only six relievers have matched Goldberg’s feat of pitching 3.2 or less innings in a game, facing 11 or fewer batters, and striking out 8 or more of them. The most recent — and most remarkable — was New York Yankees pitcher Ron Davis, who struck out 8 of the nine batters he faced during the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings of a 1981 game against the California Angels and didn’t give up a hit or a walk.

Rk Player Date Tm IP H R SO BF
1 Ron Davis 1981-05-04 NYY 3.0 0 0 8 9
2 Rich Gossage 1977-05-19 PIT 3.0 1 0 8 11
3 Terry Forster 1974-04-24 CHW 3.0 1 0 8 11
4 Tom Griffin 1972-06-10 HOU 3.1 1 0 8 11
5 Bobby Shantz 1963-07-16 STL 3.1 1 0 8 11
6 Ryne Duren 1959-06-26 NYY 3.0 1 0 8 11
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/22/2013.

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