Maeda passes rocky test with flying colors

ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 24, 2016 06:35 PM
Maeda passes rocky test with flying colors
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, April 23, 2016, in Denver. The Dodgers won 4-1. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Associated Press

DENVER, Colorado (AP) — Japanese pitching star Kenta Maeda tamed a notorious hitter's park about as well as any pitcher can as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Colorado 4-1 on Saturday night.

So much for being intimidated in his first start at Coors Field. Maeda held Colorado hitless into the sixth inning.

Maeda's mind wasn't on a no-hitter, though. It wasn't even discussed in the L.A. dugout. Not at this park, where runs can be scored in a hurry.

"First time pitching at Coors Field, first time against that offensive firepower they have over there, I can't say enough what Kenta was able to do. It's beyond impressive," said A.J. Ellis, whose two-run homer in the second helped set up the win.

Maeda (3-0) allowed three hits — all in the sixth — no runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings as the right-hander lowered his ERA to 0.36.

With a wind-up reminiscent of countryman Hideo Nomo, Maeda was cruising along until one out in the sixth when DJ LeMahieu singled for Colorado's first hit. Nomo remains the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Coors Field — in 1996.

Maeda, 28, was untouchable most of the night by keeping the Rockies off balance with a nasty breaking ball mixed in with pinpoint fastball control in his first taste of this ballpark, which requires a pitcher to keep his pitches down and stay in command — all of which Maeda does, anyway.

"When he does that, he can pitch on the moon," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

In New York, Brett Gardner hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give New York a 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay, spoiling the impressive major league debut of the Rays' top pitching prospect Blake Snell.

Gardner singled home the tying run in the seventh and then connected on a 3-1 pitch from Erasmo Ramirez (4-1) two innings later, sending the ball into the second deck in right field.

Japan's Masahiro Tanaka gave New York seven quality innings opposite Snell, perhaps baseball's premier pitching prospect. The slim left-hander permitted one run and two hits in five innings, striking out six and walking one.

In Cincinnati, Eugenio Suarez and Adam Duvall hit three-run homers in the sixth inning as the Reds finally broke through against Chicago's dominant pitching, winning 13-5.

A victory would have given the Cubs (13-5) their best start since 1907, the year they won the first of their back-to-back World Series titles. They led 3-2 in the sixth inning, but a four-homer splurge from Cincinnati ended Chicago's domination of its NL Central rival.

In other games, Washington won 2-0 at home to Minnesota, St. Louis crushed the Padres 11-2 in San Diego, the Giants beat the Miami 7-2 in San Francisco, Arizona beat visiting Pittsburgh 7-1, the Los Angeles Angels won 4-2 at home against Seattle, the New York Mets stayed hot by winning 8-2 in Atlanta, Philadelphia won at Milwaukee 10-6, the White Sox won 4-3 in 11 innings at home to Texas, Baltimore won 8-3 at Kansas City, Houston beat the visiting Red Sox 8-3, Cleveland routed Detroit on their home field 10-1, and Toronto won 9-3 at home against Oakland.

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