Walker Buehler finished with a career-high eight strikeouts over six no-hit innings and collected his first MLB hit to help lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-0 win over the San Diego Padres in the opener of the Mexico Series at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey.
Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia and Adam Liberatore each threw an inning of relief to wrap up the 12th combined no-hitter in MLB history. The no-hitter is the 23rd in Dodgers franchise history, but the first of the combined variety.
The Padres had five baserunners reach, with Buehler walking three and Cingrani putting two on. Buehler bookended a 1-2-3 first inning with strikeouts and collected two more strikeouts after issuing a leadoff walk in the second.
He curiously lost command in the third, walking Padres starter Joey Lucchesi and Jose Pirela with one out. But the Padres failed to capitalize as Eric Hosmer lined into an inning-ending 5-3 double play. That was one of the few hard-hit balls Buehler allowed on the night.
The next came on a sharp ground ball to Kyle Farmer to end the fifth inning. Buehler was lifted at 93 pitches, which wasn’t much of a surprise considering the organization’s cautious handling of their top pitching prospect and the messy conditions because of inclement weather.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has history in removing a pitcher from a potentially momentous start, having lifted Ross Stripling in the eighth inning of a no-hitter in his MLB debut and Rich Hill after seven perfect innings. Friday’s decision was the easiest of the bunch.
Buehler was backed by early run support thanks to the Dodgers scoring in each of the first two innings. Chris Taylor opened the game with a leadoff walk, then went first to third base on Kiké Hernandez’s single.
Matt Kemp’s innocent pop-up back of second base was lost in the dark sky and fell between four Padres for an RBI single. Lucchesi later walked Austin Barnes and Farmer to load the bases but retired Alex Verdugo to end the threat.
Taylor and Kiké Hernandez then provided a spark in the second inning when they combined for back-to-back solo home runs. To Lucchesi’s credit, he allowed just one hit over his final three innings of work — a Tim Locastro double which was his first career MLB hit.
Chase Utley’s pinch-hit leadoff triple was cashed in by Verdugo’s single.