Dodgers' Santana to get first major league start vs. Pirates (Jun 06, 2018)

June 6, 2018

For the second game in a row, the Los Angeles Dodgers will give a pitcher his first major league start.

Right-hander Dennis Santana is the latest to get a shot with four members of the Los Angeles rotation on the disabled list. He will go in the series finale Thursday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

On Wednesday, left-hander Caleb Ferguson started in his major league debut but it didn't go well. He had a rough 1 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and getting a no-decision in an 11-9 loss to the Pirates.

Santana made his major league debut Friday in relief against Colorado, allowing five runs and six hits, striking out four and walking one in 3 2/3 innings.

His first pitch went to the backstop, he hit a batter and he came away from the game with an ERA at 12.27, but the Dodgers were still able to get him his first major league win.

"It was beautiful being able to run out of the bullpen and face these batters that I've only seen on TV," Santana said through an interpreter. "It was a great experience."

Santana, 22, also drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double in the fourth in his first major league plate appearance. He was a shortstop growing up in the Dominican Republic but moved to the mound after signing with Los Angeles.

It remains to be seen what he will tell people years from now about his first start, but the double is what will he will remember about his debut.

"That's the first thing I'm going to say," he said.

Santana started the season at Double-A Tulsa. After moving up to Triple-A Oklahoma City, he was 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts, with 14 strikeouts in 11 innings.

To make room for Santana, the Dodgers optioned right-hander Pedro Baez to Oklahoma City.

Santana will face Pittsburgh right-hander Jameson Taillon (3-4, 3.95 ERA) on Thursday.

Los Angeles (30-31) had its four-game winning streak halted in the wild game Wednesday as the Pirates (31-30) broke out after losing three in a row, including two straight shutouts.

"It was just, like, come on, stop," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said, laughing. "I felt like George Jetson on the treadmill -- 'Jane, stop this crazy thing.' I just got out of the way and let them play."

How things carry over from a game like that is anyone's guess.

"A lot of back and forth. ... At the end of the day, it's always good to get a win," said Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison, who was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

"It can definitely start to build something. We put together some good innings, got 11 runs."

It would help if Taillon continues to get back on track.

He snapped a four-game losing streak his last start, when he gave up three hits in eight scoreless inning Friday in a 4-0 win at St. Louis.

"I felt good. Everything went off the fastball," Taillon said. "In my last start, I used the slider/cutter pitch as kind of a crutch, then (Friday) I felt like the fastball was the main piece of the puzzle. Everything else was just complementary."

His most recent win had been a one-hit shutout April 8 in a 5-0 win over Cincinnati. He had four no-decisions in addition to the four losses in the interim.

Taillon is 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers.