Martin happy to log 10 innings for NL
Dodgers catcher puts on stellar performance behind plate
NEW YORK -- When asked before the game if he intended to bolt early or stick around to the end of the 79th All-Star Game on Tuesday, Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin told anyone who would listen that he "wasn't in a hurry to go anywhere."
It's certainly a good thing he wasn't.
Martin might not have started Tuesday's game at Yankee Stadium, but he certainly got plenty of playing time in relief of starter Geovany Soto, catching 10 innings of the 15-inning epic game won by the American League, 4-3.
Martin was 1-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt. His lone hit came in the 10th inning off New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, the culmination of an eight-pitch at-bat. He also flied out twice.
Martin entered the game Tuesday defensively in the bottom of the fifth inning replacing Soto, who went 0-for-2 with a strikeout in his first All-Star Game appearance. He didn't leave the game until Atlanta's Brian McCann finally relieved him in the 15th inning.
Even by then, feeling fatigued, Martin wasn't quite ready to go.
"Unbelievable," Martin said of his experience. "From the opening ceremonies to the end of the game, it was a blast. I got some goose bumps out there."
Martin was busy behind the plate as the American League tied an All-Star Game record with six stolen bases in the game, four while Martin was in the game.
"They've got a few guys with some speed and they took advantage of it," Martin said of the stolen bases.
Martin had his hands full with more than just stolen bases, though.
The American League loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th inning off Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook. Grady Sizemore grounded a ball to second baseman Dan Uggla, who threw home to Martin for the force out.
Martin got the out but his return throw to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was low in the dirt. But Gonzalez dug the ball out, preventing it from scooting into right field, allowing the winning run to score.
"He's pretty smooth over there. It wasn't an easy pick but he makes those picks looks easy," said Martin, who has seen plenty of Gonzalez's work with the glove in National League West Division play.
Then in the 11th inning, the American League got two runners on two runners on base with one out. Michael Young, who eventually knocked in the winning run in the 15th inning with a sacrifice fly, singled up the middle.
A perfect throw from center fielder Nate McLouth of the Pirates to Martin nailed Dioner Navarro at the plate.
"That was a perfect throw," Martin said.
Martin's appearance Tuesday marked his second All-Star Game in as many years. Martin started behind the plate for the National League last July at AT&T Park in San Francisco, going 0-for-3 in a game the American League won, 5-4.
Martin, who was the Dodgers' lone representative in the All-Star Game, was one of three Canadian players in the game. The others included Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, B.C), Minnesota Twins first baseman as well as Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby champion Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C).
"The Canadians, we're taking over. ... You better watch out," Martin jokingly told the Canadian Press on Monday.
Martin now rejoins the Dodgers, who are currently one game back of the Diamondbacks in the National League West Division. Oddly enough, the Dodgers and Arizona open a three-game series at Chase Field on Thursday.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.