Walker Buehler ran through the Diamondbacks lineup like a hot knife through butter, pitching his first career shutout in the Dodgers’ 4-0 win in Monday night’s series opener at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Buehler struck out a season-high 10 in his third career complete game. His nine innings are the most by a major league pitcher this season. Before Buehler, only four pitchers threw eight innings in a start this season — Logan Webb, Justin Verlander, Sandy Alcantara, and Kevin Gausman. Buehler’s 108 pitches are an MLB season high in 2022.
Dave Roberts on Walker Buehler:— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) April 26, 2022
“After the eighth, he said, ‘I’m not coming out.’”
Buehler was in total control against an Arizona team that looked very much like a team that entered Monday hitting .189/.286/.326 while averaging just a shade over three runs per game. The D-backs would have killed for production like that in the series opener, but they couldn’t even manage to get a runner to third base all night against Buehler.
He was mixing his pitches so well that even though he only threw 11 changeups — the one pitch of his six offerings he’s thrown the least in his career — Buehler got four swing-and-misses and four called strikes with the pitch, and finished off four of his 10 strikeouts with the pitch.
Buehler allowed only two early singles and after hitting Seth Beer with a pitch in the fourth inning retired 15 batters in a row. That streak was snapped with a two-out single in the ninth, but a harmless fly ball to centerfield ended the game for Buehler’s first shutout.
When your starting pitcher is on a roll. pic.twitter.com/sbMmQoRnCJ— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 26, 2022
It was the first complete-game shutout for a Dodgers pitcher since Hyun-jin Ryu on May 7, 2019.
Buehler didn’t need a ton of support, but the Dodgers gave Buehler breathing room right away. Mookie Betts walked to open the game, then back-to-back doubles by Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner plated a pair of first-inning runs.
The Dodgers matched their season high with four doubles, all hit in the first five innings against starter Merrill Kelly. The last of those doubles, by Max Muncy, scored Betts, who singled, walked twice, and scored twice in the game. Betts leads the majors with 16 runs scored, including 10 runs in the last five games.
Will Smith added a solo home run against Tyler Gilbert in the eighth inning for some insurance.
Home run: Will Smith (2)
WP — Walker Buehler (2-1): 9 IP, 3 hits, 10 strikeouts
LP — Merrill Kelly (1-1): 6 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Tony Gonsolin takes the mound for the Dodgers on Tuesday (6:40 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), and right-hander Zach Davies starts for Arizona.