Dodgers 7, Marlins 0
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ He never seemed to break a sweat. His palms never got nervous. Ramon Martinez looked like he was pitching in an ordinary midsummer game.
It was anything but that.
Martinez threw the first no-hitter of the season Friday night as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Florida Marlins 7-0.
``I feel like a giant out there,″ he said. ``It was a great feeling. For many people, the guys, fans and my family, I am very excited. It doesn’t show, but that’s the way I am.″
Martinez was perfect through 7 2-3 innings, then walked Tommy Gregg on a 3-2 pitch. He struck out eight and threw 114 pitches in completing the first no-hitter for the Dodgers since Aug. 17, 1992, when Kevin Gross beat the Giants.
``When I walked him, I said, `Don’t try to overthrow. Just throw a strike,‴ he said.
In the ninth, he struck out Charles Johnson, got Jerry Browne on a hard grounder to second and got Quilvio Veras to line to Roberto Kelly in left field to end it.
It was the 22nd no-hitter in Dodgers history and the first ever against the Marlins. The last no-hitter in the NL was by Kent Mercker of Atlanta on April 8, 1994 _ also at Dodger Stadium.
Martinez, 27, was the fourth pitcher to take a no-hitter into the ninth inning this season. His younger brother, Pedro, who plays for the Montreal Expos, pitched nine perfect innings against the San Diego Padres on June 3, but the game went into extra innings with the score tied 0-0.
Bip Roberts broke up that perfect game with a leadoff double in the 10th after Montreal had gone ahead 1-0 in the top of the inning.
Ramon Martinez was helped defensively in the fourth inning when Chuck Carr pushed a bunt past the mound. Second baseman Delino DeShields made an off-balance throw to get Carr.
In the sixth, Johnson’s grounder was fielded nicely by third baseman Tim Wallach, who threw him out. Terry Pendleton sent a long shot to the gap in right-center in the eighth and rookie Todd Hollandsworth ran it down at the warning track.
As soon as Kelly caught the last out of the game, he lifted his arms in the air and ran in to join the other Dodgers, who were mobbing Martinez at the mound.
The crowd of 30,988 erupted in cheers and Martinez was hugged by manager Tom Lasorda, then most of the other Dodgers.
``I hear (the crowd), but I was trying to concentrate on my game,″ he said of the high noise level in the final inning. ``I say, `Don’t change anything. Don’t try to overthrow.‴
Martinez (9-6) huddled in the Dodgers’ video room before the game with Lasorda, pitching coach Dave Wallace and Ralph Avila, the scout who signed him off the Dominican Republic Olympic team in 1984, a team Avila managed.
The meeting lasted less than two minutes. But it obviously left an impression on the right-hander, who at one point this season gave up 20 earned runs in a span of three starts.
``Everybody struggles,″ said Martinez, who didn’t throw a breaking pitch after the third inning. ``The last seven starts, I was inconsistent.″
Martinez earned his 17th shutout in 184 career starts and his first since last Aug. 11, the Dodgers’ final game before the strike.
There were three no-hitters in the majors last season, including a perfect game by Kenny Rogers of Texas on July 28 against California, Mercker’s no-hitter against the Dodgers and Scott Erickson’s for Minnesota against Milwaukee on April 27.
The Dodgers have had nine no-hitters while playing in Los Angeles, four of them by Sandy Koufax. They had 13 no-hitters while playing in Brooklyn, including four before 1900.
Hollandsworth, making his first major league start after seven hitless at-bats, had hits his first three times up and drove in his first two runs. Jose Offerman tied a career high with four RBIs, including a three-run triple in the sixth off reliever Terry Matthews.
The Dodgers snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak in the third with two two-out RBI singles by Offerman and Mike Piazza against John Burkett (6-9). Piazza’s RBI was his first in five games and only the third by the All-Star catcher in his last 13 games.
Hollandsworth, who sat out more than nine weeks with a broken right hand, grounded a double past third his first time up, took third on a groundout and scored on Offerman’s hit. The rookie added an RBI single in the fourth off Burkett and another one in the sixth against Rob Murphy.
Notes: Hideo Nomo’s start Saturday against the Marlins isn’t sold out yet, but the Dodgers have limited their players to six tickets each for the next chapter of ``Nomomania.″ ... The Dodgers, who lead the majors in errors, spent more than a half-hour working on defensive drills, a la spring training. But infield coach Bill Russell downplayed the significance of it. ``There was nothing more to it than that, as far as I’m concerned,″ he said. ``We’ve got a couple new faces here who weren’t with us in spring training, so there comes a time when we need to review our defenses and work on the bunt and the double steal.″ ... Dodgers reliever Darren Dreifort, who blew out his elbow last June, picked up a baseball for the first time since undergoing reconstructive surgery four months ago. The right-hander, picked second overall in the June 1993 draft, made 70 throws without discomfort.