ARLINGTON, Texas — Let's preface this by saying the Texas Rangers really aren't that bad this year. At least compared to last season, when they bottomed out with 102 losses.
But they also haven't been free of not-so-great moments -- blowing a late 3-0 lead Tuesday night comes to mind -- and Wednesday was one of those moments.
They lost 9-2 to the Astros, and somehow, that wasn't the worst part.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Rangers' Nathaniel Lowe stepped to the plate and struck out on three pitches.
Ezequiel Duran followed Lowe and struck out on three pitches.
Brad Miller followed Duran and struck out on three pitches.
Nine pitches, nine strikes, three outs, giving Astros pitcher Luis Garcia an ultra-rare immaculate inning.
How rare? In baseball's 100-plus-year history, there had been only 106 immaculate innings. For context, there's been around three times as many no-hitters.
But that's not why we're doing this story.
Five innings later, Lowe stepped to the plate again, facing Houston reliever Phil Maton. You might guess where this is going.
Lowe struck out on three pitches. Duran followed and struck out on three pitches, managing a foul ball this time around. And then came Miller, who struck out on three pitches.
Nine pitches, nine strikes, three outs.
The strikeout déjà vu made history: It was the first time ever that a team collected two immaculate innings in one game.
"We obviously knew they were cruising pretty good," Miller told the Associated Press. "I wish I would have taken some better swings, and wish they didn't get it."
Maton and Garcia joined the Yankees' Nestor Torres as the only owners of immaculate innings this season.
Garcia said he didn't realize Maton tossed an immaculate inning until he heard his teammates cheering.
"I was talking to the guys (in the dugout) and then the guys erupted, and I said what happened," Garcia told AP.