A 123 inning is one in which the pitcher records three outs against the opposing team without any batters reaching base. That is, he gets one out, then two outs, then three outs — 1, 2, 3!

What else is a 123 inning called?

The “123 inning” may also be written as “1-2-3 inning”, “1 2 3 inning”, “1, 2, 3 inning”, “one two three inning”, “one-two-three inning”, or any permutation that conveys the same basic message: three batters faced, three batters out.

Another synonym for the 123 inning is, “three up, three down,” signifying that three batters went up to the plate, and the pitcher sat all three of them back down — that is, he retired each of them without allowing them to reach base.

How can a 123 inning be accomplished?

A 123 inning can be accomplished in a number of ways, including:

  • Three straight strikeouts, undoubtedly the most dramatic of 123 innings
  • Three pop fouls
  • Three fly outs
  • Three groundball outs

Of course, the three outs that comprise a 123 inning can be accumulated with any combination of possible outs, provided no batter reaches base in between. Among those possibilities are:

  • Strikeouts
  • Fly outs
  • Pop outs
  • Pop fouls
  • Dropped third strikes, with the catcher subsequently tagging the runners

What doesn’t count as a 123 inning?

There are circumstances when a pitcher faces the minimum three batters in an inning, but when the inning is not technically a 123 inning. Among those are:

  • A batter reaches base and is then called out when a later batter hits into a double play.
  • Two batters reach base and are each called out when the third batter hits into a triple play.
  • A batter reaches base and is then thrown out trying to steal.
  • A batter reaches base and is then picked off when leading off a bag.
  • A batter reaches base and is then called out when a batted ball (from the bat of another hitter) strikes him (as a baserunner).