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Buehler Ks 11, Martin makes history ... as pitcher

@kengurnick
August 28, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- Walker Buehler and Russell Martin make pitching look easy. Buehler fanned 11 Padres in six dominant innings on Tuesday night, and Martin became the first position player to pitch in a shutout win in more than 100 years with a scoreless ninth inning in a 9-0 victory

SAN DIEGO -- Walker Buehler and Russell Martin make pitching look easy.

Buehler fanned 11 Padres in six dominant innings on Tuesday night, and Martin became the first position player to pitch in a shutout win in more than 100 years with a scoreless ninth inning in a 9-0 victory at Petco Park, as the Dodgers’ offense awoke to pound out 14 hits.

Box score

Buehler (11-3), who struck out 15 Padres in an Aug. 3 complete game, allowed four hits and won on the road for the first time since June 9. In four career starts against San Diego, Buehler is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 28 innings. That includes the first six innings of a combined no-hitter in Monterrey, Mexico, on May 4, 2018.

“I don’t know if there’s much to it,” Buehler said of his success against San Diego. “They always have a bunch of right-handed hitters and being a righty, that’s one of the things you want to see.”

But he did walk two batters, make 98 pitches and give everybody a scare when a 95-mph fastball got away and struck Manual Margot on the batting helmet in the second inning. Margot took a few minutes to regroup, remained in the game, immediately stole second base and later robbed Cody Bellinger of a home run in center field.

“I don’t think it was one of the better games stuff-wise,” said Buehler. “You never feel good about [hitting a batter]. Obviously, there’s no intent to hit a guy in the head. That’s not the way I play. But, it’s hard, you want to make sure the guy’s OK, but at the same time you’ve got a game to pitch. You’re not going to walk over there. He stole second base on the next pitch, seemed to be doing fine, and I asked him if he was OK when he got to second base. It’s just scary, but can’t let it take you out of the game.”

Martin, who returned from the bereavement list on Tuesday after the death of his grandmother, has allowed only two hits and no runs in four “outings.” He worked around a leadoff double by another position player who pitched, Ty France, recorded his second strikeout of the year and has a 0.50 WHIP in four one-inning appearances. He made 16 pitches, 10 for strikes, averaging 88 mph with the fastball and threw a first-pitch curve for a strike to Hunter Renfroe.

“He’s got some spin rate,” said Buehler. “You guys should check his numbers.”

According to Stats LLC, Martin is the first position player (excluding two-way players) to pitch in a shutout win since Oct. 3, 1917, when Hall of Fame first baseman George Kelly pitched five shutout innings in the Giants' last game of the season.

Manager Dave Roberts said Martin’s inning -- coming off perfect innings from Casey Sadler and Caleb Ferguson -- helped save the bullpen.

“When you get past the surface of seeing it’s a position player out there and all the jokes, for him to throw strikes and, even in a win situation, to save Caleb from a second inning in a 9-0 game, is huge value for tomorrow and the next day,” said Roberts. “For him to throw strikes -- and zeros are icing on the cake -- it makes it a lot easier to laugh when he’s getting guys out.”

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt revealed that Martin actually warms up in the underground batting cage before his appearances. Honeycutt was non-committal when asked whether the rest of his relievers should try the hidden warmup routine.

Offensively, the Dodgers got home runs from Joc Pederson (No. 27, off starter Cal Quantrill) and A.J. Pollock (No. 10, off infielder France), as well as three hits from Matt Beaty. They knocked Quantrill out with a five-run fifth inning.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.