Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel records his 400th career save

Phillies Craig Kimbrel
Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel, left, celebrates with catcher J.T. Realmuto, right, after a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Friday, May 26, 2023, in Atlanta. Kimbrel celebrated his 400th career save. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

For Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel, it all started with 94.4 MPH fastball.

Kimbrel entered the game with the opportunity to record his 400th career save against the team he started with. Only a 2-run lead would be in between Kimbrel and history.

Ozzie Albies would be the first to the plate. Albies fought Kimbrel for all that he was worth working an 8-pitch at bat. With a full count, he’d get under a 95 MPh fastball for a flyout to center.

Kimbrel had roles reversed when he debuted in 2010. Playing for the Braves, he faced the Phillies in Citizens Bank Park. Raul Ibanez was his first MLB victim.

While Ozzie Albies was a marathon, Orlando Arcia‘s at-bat was a sprint. A 95 MPH fastball was sent on the first pitch to Brandon Marsh in centerfield, again.

Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel, delivers in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Friday, May 26, 2023, in Atlanta. Kimbrel celebrated his 400th career save. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

In his 173rd game playing in Atlanta, Kimbrel was just 1 out from 400.

Michael Harris II would follow Ozzie Albies’ example. He worked a full count against Kimbrel. Kimbrel must’ve started to feel some excitement. His last two pitches of the at bat were 96.5 MPH+. Unfortunately, Harris would work a walk.

The MVP frontrunner, Ronald Acuna Jr., now became the final obstacle and possible tying run.

History is made for the Phillies reliever

Acuna would watch the first two pitches as balls, getting ahead of the count. Kimbrel worked his way back, getting back-to-back foul balls. A perfect knuckle curve on the outside of the zone was not perfect enough for the home-plate umpire. Now Acuna had a full count. After a foul ball, Acuna pounded a ball into the dirt near 3B. Josh Harrison fielded and threw to first to finish history.

Craig Kimbrel recorded his 400th career save with six as a member of the Phillies. He joins Kenley Jansen on the Red Sox to hit that career mark this season.

Kimbrel becomes just the 8th player to record 400 saves in their career.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson