by Eric Edwards
March 10, 2006
SAN JUAN, P.R.–Shairon Martis made history on Friday at the World Baseball Classic. Too bad no one was watching.
In a game between two teams already eliminated from the tournament, Martis, an 18-year-old from Curacao, a Dutch possession in the Caribbean, achieved something not likely to be repeated for a long time, no-hitting Panama in a 10-0 victory that was shortened to seven innings by the mercy rule.
A confluence of good fortune helped Martis close out the feat. He entered the seventh inning having thrown 57 pitches, eight short of the limit for the first round of this 16-nation tournament.
The official scorer was generous to him on a sharply struck ground ball to third base by Adolfo Rivera starting the seventh, ruling it an error, then Martis, perched at 63 pitches, got three outs with his final two pitches. He retired Yoni Lasso on a fly out to right field and getting Cesar Quintero to ground into a double play on pitch number 65.
Martis didn't strike out a batter, and walked one.
"It was special to do this in the World Baseball Classic," said Martis, the No. 28 prospect in the Giants system who pitched in the Rookie-level Arizona League last summer. "I had good control of my fastball."
Martis had 13 flyball outs and eight groundball outs in a game that was over in 2:18.
Dutch manager Robert Eenhoorn admitted that he thought Martis' no-hitter had come to an end on Rivera's groundball. "Yeah, I thought that was going to be ruled a hit," Eenhoorn said.
But that didn't take away from Eenhoorn's impression of his young righthander, who was 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA in 2005.
"He's a very exciting young pitcher. I told him (Thursday) that I think he's going to have a good, long career," said Eenhoorn. "When he went the second time through the heart of their lineup of (Olmedo) Saenz, (Carlos) Lee and Ruben Rivera, and the way he got them out–very experienced hitters that usually make adjustments in their second at-bat–that's when I first thought that he was going to be very tough to get a hit off of on (Friday)."
Panama, which came so close to beating both Puerto Rico and Cuba, used seven different pitchers and was never in the game.
"It was very difficult for us after the two tough losses we had it was very difficult to continue with the same drive and motivation," said Panama manager Anibal Reluz.
The Netherlands, overpowered by both Puerto Rico and Cuba, scored five times in the first inning against Miguel Gomez and former big leaguer Roger Deago. Gomez retired only one batter, allowing five hits and two runs. Deago fared no better, allowing a two-run double to. Dirk van Klooster, the first batter he faced–and the rout was on.
The Netherlands scored single runs in the third and fourth innings, and three more times in the fifth, bringing the mercy rule into play. The Netherlands finished with 17 hits, all but two of them singles.