Martínez enters record books with perfect nine

Written by: Craig Muder

Pedro Martínez threw a perfect nine innings on June 3, 1995. But he needed another inning – and a little help from his Montreal Expos teammates – to wrap up the victory.

The 23-year-old right-hander announced himself on the national stage that night with a historic performance against the Padres at San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium. Using 93 pitches, Martínez retired the Padres in order from the first inning through the ninth, neutralizing a lineup that featured future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn along with past-or-future All-Stars Bip Roberts, Steve Finley and Brad Ausmus and 1996 National League MVP Ken Caminiti.

But the Expos were unable to score against Padres pitcher Joey Hamilton, who allowed just three hits and two walks over nine innings. So when the top of the 10th began, Martínez became the second pitcher in history – following Harvey Haddix on May 26, 1959 – to take a perfect game into extra innings.

“That’s big league pitching at its best right there,” Gwynn told the Associated Press after the game. “Not much you can say except ‘superb’ and ‘awesome.’ Tip your hat.”

In the top of the 10th, the Expos rallied to give Martínez the go-ahead run. Montreal second baseman Jeff Treadway singled home Shane Andrews off Padres reliever Brian Williams, but Martínez still needed three outs to claim his perfect game.

However, Martínez’s perfecto didn’t last long in extra innings. Roberts led off the 10th by hitting the third pitch of the at-bat down the right field line for a clean double, prompting Expos manager Felipe Alou to immediately remove Martínez in favor of closer Mel Rojas.

With Finley up next, a wild pitch moved Roberts to third base. But Rojas got Finley to ground out to first base before inducing Gwynn into a ground ball to second.

Roberts broke for the plate, but Treadway’s throw to Darrin Fletcher beat Roberts – leaving Gwynn on first base via a fielder’s choice with two outs. Rojas then got Caminiti to pop out to third base to end the game, giving Martínez his fourth win of the season.

“It feels really good, but it still hasn’t sunken in yet,” Martínez told the AP. “With the way the game went, I’m just happy that we won the game.

“It was really good tonight. I was able to keep my concentration on every hitter throughout the game.”

Expos right fielder Tony Tarasco had no chance on Roberts’ double, as he was nowhere near where the ball landed.

But Tarasco saved the no-hitter in the ninth inning, snaring a one-out liner off the bat of pinch-hitter Scott Livingstone as he crashed into the right field wall.

“It was a lucky hit,” Roberts said, “to the right spot.”

Martínez finished the 1995 season with a record of 14-10 and a 3.51 ERA. Two seasons later, he would win the NL Cy Young Award after going 17-8 with a 1.90 ERA and 305 strikeouts in his final season with Montreal.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2015 following an 18-year big league career with the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies that saw him total a 219-100 record, 3,154 strikeouts and three Cy Young Awards.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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