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Dodgers catcher Russell Martin makes history on mound

By
Matt Loede
Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin made history on Saturday night with a perfect ninth inning to close out a Dodgers 18-5 win over Arizona. Photo by Twitter/LosAngelesDodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin made history on Saturday night with a perfect ninth inning to close out a Dodgers 18-5 win over Arizona. Photo by Twitter/LosAngelesDodgers

March 31 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin made history Saturday evening, closing out the Dodgers 18-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks as a pitcher.

Martin was impressive in the perfect ninth inning, needing just 10 pitches to retire the Diamondbacks in order.

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He is the first full-time position player to work a 1-2-3 ninth inning for a winning team since at least 1925 according to MLB.com.

Martin was able to get back-to-back groundouts from Ketel Marte and Nich Ahmed, and then got John Ryan Murphy to fly out to center to end the game.

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The catcher is the first position player to close out a win since Detroit Tigers left fielder Willie Smith did it in September 1963 in a 4-1 win over the Washington Senators. Smith made 29 total pitching appearances over his career.

The 36-year-old said after the win that he had not pitched in a game in nearly 20 years, but was able to convince manager Dave Roberts to give him the chance with the Dodgers leading by 13 runs in the ninth inning.

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The fastest pitch that Martin threw was measured with a velocity of 83.7 miles per hour.

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"It's not really a slider, it's not really a curveball," Martin said to the LA Times.

"It's an in-betweener, but I want to know what my spin rate is like. Everyone's talking about spin rate. I wonder if I had a good spin rate."

Roberts gave credit to his catcher after the game, also joking that he was better than his other pitchers thus far a few games into the season.

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"He was our most effective pitcher these three games," Roberts said.

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