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Pressly sets mark with 39th straight blank outing

BOSTON — Houston Astros reliever Ryan Pressly broke the major league record for consecutive appearances without giving up a run on Friday night against the Boston Red Sox in a 3-1 victory, tallying his 39th straight scoreless outing.

Pressly broke the previous mark set in 2011 by Craig Kimbrel.

Houston acquired Pressly from the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline last year, coveting the reliever in part for the high spin rate on his fastball. Pressly has not allowed a run to score since August 10, 2018, totaling 38 scoreless innings. Since the last time he allowed a run, Pressly has struck out 47 batters, walked just three and allowed 17 hits.

“I just tried to put it in the back of my mind as far as I possibly could,” Pressly said. “My job is to go out there and get people out and throw up zeros as many times as I possibly can and put this team in a situation to win. That’s really all I was thinking about.”

The Houston hurler rolled through a perfect eighth inning, requiring just 11 pitches while fanning Boston first baseman Mitch Moreland and generating outs against shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Rafael Devers. Pressly put the cherry on top of his history-making performance with a dramatic third out, collecting a Devers bloop while making a Matrix-like throw to first, falling away from first base.

“I just ran over there, threw it and hopefully didn’t throw it into right field,” Pressly said. “Everything kinda clicked right there, so I was happy Yuli [Gurriel] got the ball and stepped on the bag.”

And while his name is now etched in the baseball record books, Pressly will have no memento to keep from the evening.

“I don’t even know where the ball went,” Pressly said. “I don’t care for that kind of stuff.”

Pressly’s teammates celebrated the achievement after the game in the locker room by awarding him a wrestling-inspired robe, given to the Astros player of the game.

“We were all aware of what he was going for, and wow, what a special moment for him,” starter Gerrit Cole said. “Kind of inconspicuous trade last year, and he’s just absolutely blossomed here and made a lot of huge pitches for us along the way. Any time you are part of history or you’re around it for a game that’s been around so long, it’s pretty special. We celebrated him after the win, gave him the robe for the game, and he put a cherry on top with the Mark Buehrle-esque play that he made. That was pretty special as well.”

Things have changed dramatically since Pressly arrived in Houston. While with the Twins in 2018, the 30-year-old reliever posted a 3.40 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP. In 43 outings since arriving in Houston, Pressly sports a 0.43 ERA in 42 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs and striking out 52 batters. The Astros hope for more of the same.

“It was Ryan’s night,” Cole said.

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