LOS ANGELES ― The clock above the entrance to the Dodgers’ clubhouse read 2:59 when Dustin May walked in Saturday afternoon. His long red locks of hair flowed from a white cowboy hat. A diamond-studded necklace accentuated a black T-shirt. Blue jeans, cowboy boots and a gray backpack completed the look of a 24-year-old eager to feel like a Major League Baseball player again.
May needed no time to find a hook in his locker for his cowboy hat. But he needed an inning to find himself in the Dodgers’ 7-0 win over the Miami Marlins before an announced crowd of 51,813 at Dodger Stadium.
May, making his first start for the Dodgers since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last year, did not allow a run in five innings. He walked two batters and allowed only one hit, a single to the first batter he faced. May’s nine strikeouts suggested a rare degree of dominance.
The Marlins loaded the bases in the first inning, but May struck out Nick Fortes on a curveball in the dirt to get out of the jam. That kicked off a string of 13 consecutive batters retired by May, who needed 71 pitches to complete five innings.
It was an encouraging performance for May ― and for the Dodgers. Since it was announced that right-hander Walker Buehler would undergo season-ending elbow surgery Tuesday, the Dodgers were left to navigate the rest of the 2022 season without their most talented starting pitcher.
If his comeback game was any indication, May might pick up that mantle just in time for the stretch run.
A three-run home run by Will Smith in the first inning, and a three-run home run by Justin Turner in the third inning, powered the Dodgers’ offense.
Miami scratched its scheduled starter, Braxton Garrett, with a right oblique injury when the left-hander arrived at the ballpark feeling sore. Right-hander Bryan Hoeing made the start instead, making his major league debut against one of the deepest lineups in baseball.
It did not go well.
The Dodgers collected 12 hits in all, as each of their starting position players reached base. Caleb Ferguson, Chris Martin and Phil Bickford combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief of May.
The Dodgers can sweep the three-game series Sunday.