Walker Buehler gets 1st career shutout, Dodgers blank D-backs 4-0

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Some pitchers chase wins, saves or strikeouts.

Walker Buehler’s selected stats are innings pitched.

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So it was a big moment for the 27-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers ace as he walked off the mound Monday night after throwing nine amazing innings, ending his first career shutout in a 4-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“The guys I grew up watching saw it,” Buehler said. “That was what it meant to be good.”

Buehler (2-1) threw a three-hitter, and Will Smith launched a solo homer for the Dodgers, who won for the 11th time in 13 games.

Buehler crossed most of the way, scrapping 15 straight batters over a brilliant stretch from fourth inning to ninth. He walked no one, hit a batter with a pitch, and struck out 10, leaving the field to standing ovations from the significant contingent of Dodgers fans at Chase Field.

The right-hander threw 108 pitches and got Christian Walker on a fly ball to midfield for the final. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Buehler told him he did not come out of the game when he left the field after the eighth inning.

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler, right, celebrates his complete three-stroke game with catcher Will Smith after a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, April 25, 2022 in Phoenix.  The Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks 4-0.

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler, right, celebrates his complete three-stroke game with catcher Will Smith after a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, April 25, 2022 in Phoenix. The Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks 4-0.
(AP Photo / Matt York)

It was another tough pitching decision for Roberts, who took some heat earlier this year as he pulled Clayton Kershaw after seven perfect innings against Minnesota. Roberts has said he does not regret the Kershaw decision, and he certainly does not regret leaving Buehler to end his shutout.

“I trusted him,” Roberts said. “I believed in him. He has an extra day before his next start, so everything stood in line, made sense. He deserved it, he deserved it, and it was fun to see him tonight.”

The Dodgers wasted some time taking a 2-0 lead, which was ample for Buehler. Leadoff hitter Mookie Betts went to start the first, Freddie Freeman doubled and Trea Turner brought them both home with another double.

Max Muncy’s two-out double in the fifth scored Betts and pushed it to 3-0. Smith’s 425-foot shot into the left center seats in the eighth made it 4-0. Smith and Freeman both finished with two hits.

Buehler’s dominance against Arizona came after a relatively slow start to the season by his high standards. The two-time All-Star had an ERA of 4.02 through three starts before Monday.

Many opponents have found their tracks against the D-backs’ lineup, which was 29th out of 30 teams with a batting average of .189 coming into Monday’s matches. Daulton Varsho, David Peralta and Walker had the team’s three hits and were all singles.

“Buehler had really good stuff,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I thought we went out of the zone a few times, which gave him a chance to look even better and more effective. In these critical counts, we need to be a little more stubborn.”

Arizona starter Merrill Kelly (1-1) took the loss despite pitching pretty well and giving up three runs over six innings. He allowed seven strokes and twice while hitting four.

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ARROYO SHOUTS OUT

Buehler went to high school in Kentucky and watched a lot of Cincinnati Reds games. Bronson Arroyo was the Ace of the Reds for many of those years, and he threw at least 200 innings in eight out of nine seasons from 2005-13.

Arroyo’s durability started Buehler’s fascination with innings pitched. Buehler hit the 200 entry for the first time last season when he threw 207 1/3 innings.

“It’s just an important thing for me,” Buehler said.

ROSTER MOVES

Dodgers: RHP Andre Jackson was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City. INF / OM Zach McKinstry was sent to Triple-A.

Diamondbacks: OF Jordan Luplow (tense right slant) joined the team from the 10-day injured list and LHP Tyler Gilbert was promoted from Triple-A Reno. LHP Oliver Perez was nominated for the job, and OF Jake McCarty was sent to Triple-A. Luplow made his season debut in the eighth.

NEXT

Diamondbacks send RHP Zach Davies (1-1, 5.02 ERA) to the mound to face Dodgers RHP Tony Gonsolin (1-0, 0.69) on Tuesday.

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