And that photo came before Walker Buehler lost his no-hitter in the 8th inning.
Having topped out at 105 pitches this season, and 111 in his career, Buehler’s 99 pitches through 7 innings meant it would be tough to see him finish off a no-hitter Saturday night. Finishing with 11 Ks, 2 walks and 2 hits allowed, Buehler hit 108 pitches when Dave Roberts pulled him after 7 1/3 innings.
That’s a season-high in strikeouts for Buehler, who mixed in five pitches pretty well against the D-backs and recorded multiple Ks on three of them.
Most importantly, the Dodgers (43-27) still didn’t lose to the D-backs (20-52!). Arizona has now lost 16 straight games as Los Angeles won 9-3.
As for the offense, it didn’t take the Dodgers long to score more runs off of Matt Peacock than they did in his first start against them back on May 19.
Mookie Betts doubled to center on the second pitch of the game and came home on a 367-foot homer to right field by Will Smith two batters later. Smith’s home run came on a sinker, the same pitch Betts doubled on as well as the same pitch Matt Beaty tripled off of in the first as well. Essentially, it wasn’t working for Peacock early on.
Beaty was stranded at third, but the Dodgers matched their hit total from Friday in the span of five batters on Saturday night.
They kept it up in the 2nd, with Zach McKinstry connecting for a one-out single and moving up to second on a sacrifice by Buehler. Betts then drew a two-out walk, allowing Gavin Lux to roll a 1-1 sinker into left and score McKinstry from second for a 3-0 lead.
Two more reached in the 3rd, but the Dodgers failed to push across a run for a third straight inning and Peacock finally retired the side in order in the 4th. Smith doubled in the 5th, but was stranded at second as Peacock finished his day after 5 innings. Striking out 3, Peacock allowed 7 hits and walked 2 while allowing the 3 runs. It wasn’t as good as his start in May, where he allowed 4 hits and walked none in 5 1/3 innings, but he did settle in a bit after the rough opening inning.
Kevin Ginkel took over for the D-backs in the 6th and immediately worked himself into trouble. AJ Pollock lined out to open the inning, but McKinstry and Betts walked around another sacrifice by Buehler. Unable to find the zone, Ginkel went 3-2 to Lux before walking him as well to load the bases. Of his first 22 pitches, 13 were balls and just 3 of his 10 sliders went for strikes.
Naturally, Justin Turner slapped a slider the opposite way into right center on the first pitch of his at-bat to clear the bases and take a 6-0 lead.
Needing a triple for the cycle, Smith didn’t even get the chance as Ginkel still couldn’t find the zone consistently. A seven-pitch walk put men on first and second for Beaty, but he went down swinging to end the 6th.
The D-backs then turned to … Jake Faria, who was recently released by the Angels out of Triple-A, for the 7th inning. You might be able to guess how that went. Pollock, McKinstry and Buehler loaded the bases via a variety of ways, the last one being a throwing error to third as Buehler tried to sacrifice the runners over. Betts flew out to left to make it 7-0, but amazingly that was all they could get as Lux struck out.
Faria stayed in the game for the 8th and gave up two more runs to make it 9-0. Chris Taylor cashed in a leadoff single by Turner with his 10th homer of the season, sending a fastball down the left-field line and into the strands to finish the scoring for the Dodgers.
Taking a closer look at Buehler, the hardest hit ball he allowed all game was the final one of the game. Ahmed’s single was the only ball hit harder than 95 mph by the D-backs, with Buehler keeping the ball on the ground or just simply out of play altogether.
Buehler needed just 10 pitches in the 1st inning against Arizona, getting a pair of groundouts and a strikeout of Eduardo Escobar. The pitch count doubled to 20 in the 2nd, with Carson Kelly hit by a pitch and David Peralta walking, but really it was more of the same. Buehler struck out Christian Walker to start the inning and induced a grounder against Pavin Smith to wrap up the inning with a double play. Ahmed and Peacock went down on strikes in the 3rd before Josh Rojas became the first D-back to put the ball in the air against Buehler as he flew out to left.
Buehler’s first 4 strikeouts came on three different pitches as he mixed in his cutter, sinker, slider and curve around about 50% fourseamers the first time through the order.
After a leadoff walk Ketel Marte, Buehler got Escobar swinging again with a curve in the 4th. Walker went down on strikes a second time as well, watching an 0-2 slider for strike three, with Stephen Vogt (who replaced Kelly after he was hit and later determined to have a fractured wrist) grounded out to strand Marte. Working in his slider and cutter a bit more as the game wore on, Buehler needed just 10 pitches in the 5th and struck out Smith on just 3 pitches for his 7th of the game. Two more groundouts and a strikeout of Rojas made it 6 no-hit innings, and more impressively made it 6 innings with the hardest hit ball a grounder at 94.7 mph.
Entering the 7th at 87 pitches, Buehler struck out Escobar and Walker a third time to make it 10 Ks and Vogt grounded out on the 99th pitch of the game. Unfortunately, the no-hitter came to an end three pitches into the 8th as Peralta singled to left-center. After one last strikeout of Smith, Buehler allowed the second hit to Ahmed and his day came to an end.
Getting five strikeouts with the curve (he entered with 13 Ks on the pitch this season), three on the slider and three on his fourseamer, Buehler seemed to mix it up well. His cutter (19%) ended up as the main secondary pitch, just edging the curve (17%) and slider (14%), behind his the fastball at 40%.
After all that, Buehler was charged with two runs as Mitch White entered and allowed a single and double to score three in the inning.
Garrett Cleavinger took over in the 9th, walking 1 and striking out 2 as he looked to be working with his slider a bit more than he had earlier in the season.
The Dodgers and D-backs wrap up the three-game series tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. as Tony Gonsolin faces Alex Young, who has started one (1) game this season for the D-backs along with 26 appearances out of the bullpen.