Los Angeles

Walker Buehler Makes History in Dodgers Dramatic Walk-Off Win Over Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler made history on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

On Thursday night, Dodgers infielder Matt Beaty was at a hotel, watching the Dodgers square off against Madison Bumgarner and the rival San Francisco Giants.

He had just been optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and was scheduled to jump on the first flight back to Oklahoma in the morning.

Little did he know, that in a little less than 24 hours, he would cap off a historic night for the Dodgers with his first career walk-off home run.

"You dream about this as a kid," said Beaty. "Hitting a walk-off home run, there's probably no better feeling."

But this story is not all about Beaty, the Dodgers rookie was merely a co-star to Walker Buehler's starring performance on Friday night.

Buehler dazzled the sellout Dodger Stadium crowd, putting on a pitching performance the likes that fans in Los Angeles have never seen before, and may never see again.

Buehler struck out a career-high 16 batters, and finished off the first complete game of his career.

It was a career night for Buehler across the board, as in addition to his personal best strikeout mark, he threw a career-high nine innings, and 111 pitches in the process.

"That's checking another box for me," said a soft-spoken Buehler about going the distance. "It's important for me. I want to eat innings, I want to throw 200 innings, and that's stuff you have to do. Thanks to Doc [Dave Roberts] for letting me go back out there. He believed in me."

Despite all that, as Buehler walked off the mound in the top of the ninth inning, having struck out Nolan Arenado to complete his career-high, his effort was still in jeopardy as the Dodgers and Rockies were deadlocked at two runs apiece.

That's when Beaty made sure Buehler's historic night had a storybook ending.

"I was thinking he [Walker Buehler] had a really special night and it would be really fun to get a win for him," said Beaty as he grabbed his bat and prepared to hit in the bottom of the ninth. 

With two outs, and Max Muncy on first, Beaty sent a fastball from Jairo Diaz over the center field wall for the game-winning walk-off homer, graciously handing Buehler his eighth win of the season, and the Dodgers MLB-best 52nd on the year. 

"Friday night…sellout crowd…when the ball went over the fence I just heard the crowd erupt and it was pretty cool," said Beaty of the moment he sent the Ravine into rousing hysteria. "It just felt like I was floating around the bases and I was trying to soak it in. My heart hasn't stopped pounding yet."

Beaty's homer put the exclamation point on a historic night for Buheler. In striking out 16 hitters, the 24-year-old joined an exclusive list of legendary pitchers to don Dodger blue.

Buehler's 16 strikeouts are tied for the third most by a pitcher in a single-game in franchise history, behind only Ramon Martinez (18) in 1990, Sandy Koufax (18) in 1959 and 1962, Dazzy Vance (17) in 1925, and Hideo Nomo (17) in 1996.

Buehler also became the only Dodgers' pitcher in franchise history to record 16 strikeouts without issuing a single walk .

Clayton Kershaw famously had 15 strikeouts and no walks during his no-hitter against the Rockies in 2014.

After the game, draped in a black hooded sweatshirt and tennis shoes,an expressionless Buehler stood in front of his locker. You would never have known that he had just made history on one of the game's greatest stages.

As always, he was calm, cool, and collected. He played down his pitching performance as a combination of "good calls," "bad swings," and "throwing strikes," but even the 54,044 in attendance all knew there was much more to it than that. This was special.

Ironically, Beaty's locker is located right next to Buehler's; so as the 26-year-old rookie who was covered in baby powder and gatorade, celebrated the completion of a childhood dream, Buehler was still all business.

"Any time you do something for the first time its got a little more meaning" he finally admitted. "But when you throw strikes good things happen."

Needless to say, good things happened for both players on Friday.

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