Welcome to Major League Baseball Nick Kingham!
Prior to being called up, the Pittsburgh Pirates number 12 overall prospect, according to MLB pipeline, allowed just five runs with four of those being earned on 15 hits and seven walks along with 27 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings across four starts while pitching for Triple-A Indianapolis. Kingham was called up to the bigs on Sunday to give the Pirates’ staff some rest, and little did anyone know, Kingham would have one of the best debuts in MLB history.
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Nick Kingham made his major league debut on Sunday, April 29, 2018, pitching at PNC Park against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Like many Major League debuts, not much was expected as Kingham was brought up simply because the Pirates pitching staff needed rest after playing their 6th game in a 5-day span, but as the game continued, and Cardinal after Cardinal was sent back to the bench without getting on base, it was clear that something special was brewing in Pittsburgh.
Nick Kingham carried a perfect game into the top of the 7th inning, sending 20 batters up and 20 batters down, and recording the first two outs before Cardinals’ shortstop Paul DeJong singled to left field. In total, Kingham pitched 7 innings, giving up just one single with no walks and nine strikeouts on 98 pitches for one of the best debuts in history.
“That’s how you plan it up — not to let anybody on,” Kingham said. “It’s incredible how it happened. Just kind of starting from the get-go, it went well. … It’s corny, but it took everybody. I’m really fortunate and really happy about it.”
Since 1974, no Major League pitcher has ever made it through 6 perfect innings in their debut. The last pitcher to go five perfect innings in their debut was Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds, who made it through five perfect frames against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 3, 2008, before allowing a home run to current Angels’ left fielder Justin Upton.
Juan Marichal retired the first 19 batters he faced in his Major League debut, then a batter reached on an error by the shortstop, followed by an out and a walk. Kingham retired 20 consecutive batters to begin his debut, the most ever by just 1.
Kingham will most likely be sent back down to the Minor Leagues in favor of another pitcher to eat up innings while the Pirates rest their staff, but for now, let’s give credit where credit is due, and admire one of Major League Baseball’s greatest pitching debuts ever.
What a game Nick Kingham! What a game!