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Outfielder Slow-Pitches His Way to Historic Save

Stevie Wilkerson slow-pitches Angels to preserve victory
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2019 4:02 PM CDT
Stevie Wilkerson pauses in a relief appearance against the Boston Red Sox on July 20.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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(Newser) – In the 16th inning, around 1am, with the Baltimore Orioles out of actual, trained pitchers, the team turned to reserve outfielder Stevie Wilkerson and his pitching arsenal of ... not much. Taking the mound with the Orioles leading the Los Angeles Angels 10-8, Wilkerson pitched a 1-2-3 inning Thursday night in Anaheim to earn the save. That made him the first Major League position player to record a save in the half-century the save has been an official statistic, per Yahoo Sports. "That was just crazy," Wilkerson said after the game, per CBS Sports. But there was nothing cheap about it: He got future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols to make the third out.

Wilkerson did it with pitches that didn't break out of the slow lane: His fastest pitch was clocked at 56mph. After 6 hours of seeing pitches between about 85mph and 100, the Angels couldn't adjust. "It's below hitting speed," the Orioles manager said, per CNN, "so that's hard." Wilkerson's inning consisted of a fly out, ground out, and fly out to close out the second-longest game in Orioles history. Wilkerson has pitched before—this month, even—and has now allowed one run and four hits in four innings. But the other appearances weren't historic. (Read more Major League Baseball stories.)

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