LOS ANGELES -- Every once in a while baseball will show us something that we have never seen before, which is one of the things that makes baseball great. On Monday night at Dodger Stadium, Brandon McCarthy had one of the most bizarre starts in major league history in the Dodgers' 6-5 win over the Mariners.
McCarthy allowed home runs to Nelson Cruz in the first inning, Cruz and Kyle Seager back-to-back in the fourth inning, then Dustin Ackley in the fifth.
"Two of the home runs (Seager and Ackley) were terrible pitches that you'd expect to be hit out. Two of them were pitches that weren't going to be home runs," McCarthy said after the game. "I've never had a sinker down and away hit out of the ballpark before, on a line."
That sinker down and away was the second home run by Cruz. The Mariners that inning took a 4-0 lead on the Dodgers, but the Dodgers came back. And McCarthy, despite the home runs, was pitching quite well.
He allowed only two other base runners aside from the home runs, and one — Logan Morrison — was erased trying to stretch a single into a double on a great throw from left field by Scott Van Slyke.
After the home run by Cruz in the fourth inning, McCarthy retired 11 of his final 12 batters faced, including six by strikeout. That gave him seven innings, tying Zack Greinke on Sunday for the longest Dodgers start this season. And it helped key the Dodgers comeback.
"The silver lining was I thought Brandon's stuff was really good," manager Don Mattingly said. "He gave us two huge innings, you talk about big things to happen in this game. That little bounce-back was nice to see."
McCarthy finished his night with 10 strikeouts and four home runs allowed, an odd combination that has only been done 10 other times in the majors dating back to 1914, with McCarthy pitching the only such game with no walks.
McCarthy induced 16 swinging strikes with 98 pitches. A 16.32% swinging strike rate is the third-highest he's had in a start since 2007.— Daniel Brim (@DanielBrim) April 14, 2015
McCarthy also struck out nine in his first start of the season, making him just the third Dodgers pitcher to open the season with two straight games with nine or more strikeouts, joining Kevin Gross (1994) and the immortal Karl Spooner (1954).
Through two starts, McCarthy on one hand has been very good, with 19 strikeouts and just one walk in 13 innings, both Dodgers wins. But he has also allowed six home runs, living both ends of the extreme.
That's 51 batters faced, 19 strikeouts, and six home runs. With the one walk, McCarthy has achieved three true outcomes in over half of his batters faced, including an insane 49-percent two true outcome rate.
The Dodgers are also 2-0, thanks to 13 runs of support in two games and a bullpen that has been spotless following McCarthy. Pedro Baez, Paco Rodriguez, Joel Peralta and Yimi Garcia combined for three scoreless innings on Monday, with five strikeouts and a walk. Last Wednesday, Baez, Rodriguez, J.P. Howell and Peralta combined for four scoreless innings with four strikeouts and two hits allowed.
"You want to sort out your own messes," McCarthy said. "But it's nice to know when you do leave, it's in good hands."
The Dodgers will turn to left-hander David Huff to start against the Mariners on Tuesday night, while Seattle turns to Hisashi Iwakuma in the middle game of the series.
Despite the heroics of Alex Guerrero in the last two games, driving in six runs including the walk-off on Monday, expect Juan Uribe to be back in the lineup at third base after missing two games with left hamstring tightness.
"Juan will be back in there tomorrow," Mattinglys said. "He was frustrated with me today because he felt like he was good, but I wanted to be cautious with him."
The status of Yasiel Puig, however, is up in the air. Puig went 3-for-5 on Monday and homered for a second straight game, but was also seen limping in the outfield.
"I did see that he was hobbling a little bit. Stan [Conte, team trainer] checked with him and said he was good to go," Mattingly said. "We'll see how that turns up tomorrow."
It is unknown exactly what injury, if any, Puig is dealing with. Puig declined to speak to group of reporters following the game.