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Max Kranick’s perfect Pirates debut ruined by rain delay


St. Louis literally rained on his parade.

Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Max Kranick was in the middle of his first MLB start, cruising through his first five innings: 15 Cardinals batters faced, 15 Cardinals batters retired.‘s No. 26 prospect struck out three batters while allowing no hits and no walks on only 50 pitches on Sunday.

Then, the rain set in. Enough to cause a delay of over an hour, effectively ending Kranick’s perfect day.

The 23-year-old Scranton, Penn. native was able to cement his name into the Pirates’ history books just after one start. Not only did he became the fourth Pirates pitcher since 2010 to be perfect through five innings, he also became just the second pitcher in franchise history to hit before pitching while making his MLB debut. He took his first at-bat in the first inning of the game after the Pirates scored three runs in the opening frame.

The eleventh-round 2016 draft pick made MLB history as well: He became the first rookie since 1893 to be perfect through at least five innings in his big-league debut. 

“I felt like every pitch I threw was the biggest pitch of my life,” Kranick said. “I was tunneled in. It was a crazy feeling, an unbelievable feeling. I’ll remember this day forever.”

Thanks to Kranick’s early dominance, the Pirates finished the day with a 7-2 win at Busch Stadium.

Max Kranick #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals
The only thing that could stop Max Kranick’s MLB debut was the weather.
Getty Images

Kranick started this season on the Altoona Curve, the Pirates Double-A affiliate, before quickly moving up the ranks. He was 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA in three starts before moving onto Triple-A. In Indianapolis, he went 1-2 with a 4.66 ERA and 20 strikeouts in four starts.

For any pitcher, it is tough to control pitches during a torrential downpour. It makes it even harder when you have to control your nerves in your debut. But Pirates manager Derek Shelton was pleased with how Kranick handled himself on the mound.

“I learned a ton about his composure because the first inning, it was raining really hard,” Shelton said. “To be able to stay composed, couldn’t have been any better in terms of going right out, executing his fastball, going right after a good lineup. very impressive. Was unfortunate that the rain stopped him because he had five perfect innings and really did a nice job the entire time.”


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