Dennis Martinez’s Perfect Game

On July 29, 1991, Dennis Martinez pitched the 15th perfect game in baseball history to give the Montreal Expos a 2-0 victory over the Dodgers before 45,560 at Dodger Stadium. The Los Angeles Times wrote:

“There were 17 groundouts, five strikeouts, two foul outs, and only three fair balls hit out of the infield.

In the fourth inning Martinez was visited on the mound by trainers because of a twinge in his back, but he continued. He needed a good throw to first base on a bunt by Juan Samuel in the seventh inning, but he survived.

He finally seemed to tire in the ninth inning. Leadoff hitter Mike Scioscia hit a hard fly ball to left field. Then, with two out, pinch- hitter Chris Gwynn hit a line drive barely foul down the third base line.

Then on a 1-and-2 pitch, Gwynn drove a ball toward the right field gap that hung up in the haze. To at least one person, it sounded like extra bases.

“It was scary,” said Martinez, who turned and stared at the ball. “I thought it was hit well. Then, it went nowhere.”

Marquis Grissom said he knew he could catch it. If only he could calm down.

“It was a routine fly ball,” he said. “But I had to get over there and get it. I had to forget what was at stake.”

When the ball dropped into his glove, Martinez leaped into the air. And he wasn’t the only one.

Larry Bearnarth, the pitching coach, was so excited he cut his finger on the dugout roof.

“Can you believe that?” Bearnarth said. “As soon as he got the last out, I jumped up in the air and boom! my finger hit something. I guess that shows you what I think about Dennis Martinez.”

Afterward Martinez showed the cheering fans what he thought of them by wading through a mob in the box seats, signing autographs in his street clothes.

Martinez was helped yesterday by the hazy background, the fast pace of the game, and two unearned runs against Mike Morgan.

The Expos ended Morgan’s no- hit bid in the sixth inning with a leadoff single to center field by Ron Hassey, then scored twice in the seventh on two fielding errors by shortstop Alfredo Griffin sandwiched around a run-scoring triple by Larry Walker.

Those runs also stopped the Dodger pitchers’ consecutive scoreless-innings streak at 38, tying a club record set in 1966.

With Morgan being the fastest worker on the Dodgers — this game took 2 hours, 14 minutes — Martinez wasn’t given much time to stiffen up on the bench, which also helped.

Published in: on June 11, 2009 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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