The Great Lakes Loons needed a special effort to avoid a three-game sweep in Peoria Monday afternoon -- from five (almost six) different pitchers.
After listed starter Jonathan Martinez was pulled from the game in the middle of the first inning, Great Lakes got a boost from its bullpen as five pitchers combined in a one-hit shutout of the host Chiefs, 4-0.
Martinez was healthy, said Jordan Hershiser, his last-minute replacement. His teammates surmised that, with the MLB trade deadline looming, perhaps Martinez was part of a deal or was being promoted, but nothing had been announced.
Great Lakes' parent club, the Dodgers, acquired former Cubs infielder Darwin Barney on Monday afternoon in exchange for a player to be named later.
Hershiser, son of the former Dodgers great, said he was told to get ready with two outs in the top of the first and tried to warm up as quickly as he could. Despite the lack of an injury, he was given as many warmup throws as he needed.
"You kind of feel like you're holding everyone up, so even though I still had as many warmups as I wanted, it was a little rushed. I didn't have much feel for my pitches there in the first inning, but it wasn't too bad," he said.
"My command was a little off and my secondary pitches weren't at their best, so I was mainly trying to go after hitters with the fastball."
Hershiser walked four over his three frames and gave up the Chiefs' lone hit with two outs in the first but allowed just one runner to reach second base. Peoria had two would-be base stealers thrown out by Great Lakes catcher Spencer Navin and also hit into one double play.
"I made a couple spot starts earlier in the year, and I knew I was likely to pitch today -- if not for a few more hours," said Hershiser. "We didn't even notice the one-hitter until later in the game.
"I guess I was the worst of the five of us, since I gave up the hit," he said with a laugh.
Michael Johnson took over for the Loons in the fourth. Peoria cleanup hitter Justin Ringo reached on a fielding error by Great Lakes second baseman Malcolm Holland with one out, but Johnson fanned the next two batters. He got credit for the win, improving to 4-2 with one scoreless inning.
Mark Pope and Matt Campbell fired two perfect frames apiece before Jacob Rhame took over in the ninth. He issued a four-pitch walk to Juan Herrera with two outs, ending a streak of 16 consecutive batters retired by Great Lakes pitchers, before getting Ringo to ground out to end the game.
Holland tripled and walked three times and Brandon Trinkwon delivered an RBI double for Great Lakes, which snapped a four-game losing streak.
Starter Arturo Reyes (6-7) took the loss -- his fourth in five starts -- for Peoria after allowing three runs on seven hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
Had the game been played under National League rules -- that is, without a designated hitter -- Martinez would have been credited with a start despite not throwing a pitch. Due to the presence of a designated hitter, however, he was not technically in the Great Lakes lineup, meaning that he did not make an official appearance and that Hershiser is credited with the start.
John Parker is an editor for MiLB.com.