Buehler, Dodgers’ bullpen combine to no-hit Padres in Mexico
By CARLOS RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press
MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) — The Dodgers have the most no-hitters in the majors — and now the most in Mexico, too.
Rookie Walker Buehler and a trio of Los Angeles relievers combined for the franchise’s 23rd no-hitter in a 4-0 victory over the San Diego Padres in the opener of a neutral-site series Friday night.
Mexico had waited since 1999 to host a regular-season major league game, and it got a historic one: the first no-hitter ever outside the U.S. or Canada and the 12th combined no-hitter in major league history.
“It was awesome,” Buehler said. “It’s one of those things, to pitch in a place like this, an atmosphere like this, it was awesome.”
Buehler, a 23-year-old taken on the first round of the 2015 amateur draft, pitched six innings in his third major league start. The touted right-hander struck out eight and walked three over 93 pitches before handing off to left-hander Tony Cingrani, who walked two in the seventh but kept the bid intact.
Yimi Garcia struck out two in a perfect eighth and Adam Liberatore threw a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Franchy Cordero to end it with the Dodgers’ 146th pitch.
That ended a festive night that began with a ceremonial first pitch thrown by Dodgers great Fernando Valenzuela, who became a star in the U.S. and Mexico and set of “Fernandomania” when he became a fan favorite in the 1980s.
Valenzuela pitched a no-hitter against St. Louis at Dodger Stadium on June 29, 1990, the same night Oakland’s Dave Stewart pitched a no-hitter at Toronto — one of five in Canada, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Los Angeles also accomplished the feat on the night Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels got his 3,000th hit in a game at Seattle. When Pujols hit his 600th home run at home against Minnesota last June 3, Miami’s Edinson Volquez pitched a no-hitter at home against Arizona.
Buehler’s highest pitch count in the majors is 94 pitches, reached in his previous outing against San Francisco.
“It’s one of those where you’re pretty angry to come out, but the bullpen, the guys that we have, I trust it in their hands, too,” he said. “And it worked out.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts isn’t afraid to pull a young pitcher during a no-hitter. He removed then-rookie Ross Stripling from a bid against San Francisco with one out in the eighth inning in 2016. Reliever Chris Hatcher allowed a home run to the next batter.
This one worked out better for Roberts, giving baseball its second no-hitter of the season. Oakland left-hander Sean Manaea threw the first against Boston on April 21.
Los Angeles accomplished the feat before a crowd of 21,536 at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey, chosen as part of Major League Baseball’s push to internationalize the sport.
Joey Lucchesi (3-2) allowed three runs and five hits as the last-place Padres dropped to 11-22.
Matt Kemp had an RBI single on a popup to the shortstop in the first inning, and Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez hit consecutive homers in the second. Alex Verdugo singled in a run in the sixth against Adam Cimber.
The Monterrey series continues with Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (2-2, 3.76 ERA) opposing RHP Bryan Mitchell (0-3, 6.07) on Saturday.
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