HOUSTON -- His heart was pounding through his chest and the nerves were building. Just as Corbin Martin had gathered his emotions while warming up in the Minute Maid Park bullpen prior to his first start, he took the mound in the middle of the field and saw more than
HOUSTON -- His heart was pounding through his chest and the nerves were building. Just as Corbin Martin had gathered his emotions while warming up in the Minute Maid Park bullpen prior to his first start, he took the mound in the middle of the field and saw more than 41,000 fans, including a huge flock of his family and friends.
“I said, ‘Oh, no, here we go,’” he said.
Here we go, indeed.
Martin, a Houston native who grew up cheering for the Astros, made his Major League debut in Sunday’s 15-5 win over the Rangers and struck out nine batters in 5 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and two runs to earn his first win.
“After I got that first pitch out of the way, it all just settled in that I’ve been doing this for a long time and I shouldn’t change anything,” said Martin, the Astros’ No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Martin, 23, struck out Shin-Soo Choo to start the game and sent down seven of the first eight batters he faced before giving up a homer to Isiah Kiner-Falefa. That didn’t faze him, though. He sent down the next eight batters he faced and wound up throwing 49 of 80 pitches for strikes.
“I loved him,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “I thought he had a tremendous start, obviously. Getting into the game it was really good for him. He missed a lot of bats, he threw the ball where he wanted to. We gave him a lead and he was completely in control of himself and handled the moment in the best way possible.”
Martin’s fastball averaged 95.7 mph, topping out at 97.7 mph and accounted for 50 of his pitches. His changeup and slider were effective secondary options.
“He’s got good stuff,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He’s got a good arm. The ball came out of his hand, good fastball, good breaking ball. He was well in command of his pitches. Toward the end he was losing it but overall he did a pretty good job.”
When Hinch came to get him from the mound in the sixth inning, he took a minute to make sure Martin understood the gravity of the moment. As Martin walked off the mound, the sellout crowd at Minute Maid was roaring in approval as he headed for the dugout.
“I told him there’s only one first time and he did a hell of a job and he should be very proud,” Hinch said. “I’m really thankful our fans sensed the moment and gave him an incredible ovation coming off the field. He’ll remember that forever.”
Indeed. Martin took a moment to soak it all in while sitting in the dugout and surveying the atmosphere. His road is just beginning, but he’s a big leaguer now.
“It was really a good feeling,” Martin said.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.