Walker Buehler is technically now an international sensation, pitching six hitless innings in his third major league start, combining with three Dodgers relievers to no-hit the Padres 4-0 in their first game of their weekend series on Friday night in Monterrey, Mexico.
This was the 23rd no-hitter in Dodgers history, and their 13th since moving to Los Angeles. It was their first combined no-hitter in franchise lore.
Adam Liberatore struck out two in the ninth, including Franchy Cordero swinging for the final out:
Just like that. History! #LosDodgers pic.twitter.com/10erSjRph7— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 5, 2018
Buehler was magnificent on Friday with eight strikeouts in six scoreless frames, one inning longer than he lasted in his first two major league starts. He ran into trouble briefly in the third inning with back-to-back walks, including one of opposing pitcher Joey Lucchesi. But that threat was extinguished when Eric Hosmer‘s line drive to third was hit right at Kyle Farmer, who threw to second for a double play.
That started a string of 10 straight batters retired for Buehler, who ended the sixth inning at 93 pitches. The decision to pull him was obvious and the easiest of what has become on average an annual rite of passage for Dave Roberts, who pulled Ross Stripling in the eighth inning of his first major league start in 2016 and pulled Rich Hill after seven perfect innings in Miami five months later.
At 23 years, 280 days old, Buehler is the youngest Dodgers pitcher with a start of at least six innings and no hits allowed since Rex Barney no-hit the Giants on Sept. 9, 1948.
Tony Cingrani pitched a scoreless seventh, then Yimi Garcia and Liberatore finished things off in the eighth and ninth to finish the job, the Dodgers’ first no-hitter since Clayton Kershaw on June 18, 2014.
To top things off for Buehler, he also got his first major league hit as a batter. His surefire single between first and second base actually hit Alex Verdugo, which ended the inning, but Buehler was still awarded a hit thanks to Rule 10(a)(4).
Walker Buehler got his first major league hit on a ball that hit Alex Verdugo between 1B & 2B, per MLB rule 10.05(a)(4): "The official scorer shall credit a batter with a base hit when..." pic.twitter.com/IF23HK4M7r— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) May 5, 2018
Buehler wasn’t the only one to get his first major league hit on Friday night. Tim Locastro, making his second start in as many days in center field, hit a ground rule double to left field in the fourth inning.
The Dodgers backed Buehler and the staff with a run in the fifth inning, then back-to-back home runs by Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez in the second inning.
LA has now won three straight games.
These two teams are at it again on Saturday, presumably in drier conditions. The 4:10 p.m. PT start will be televised by both SportsNet LA and Fox Sports 1, with no blackouts. Kenta Maeda starts the middle game of the series for the Dodgers, with right-hander Bryan Mitchell going for the Padres.
Home runs: Chris Taylor (5), Kiké Hernandez (4)
WP - Walker Buehler (2-0): 6 IP, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
LP - Joey Lucchesi (3-2): 5 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts