MIAMI — Rich Hill’s lingering blister made Dave Roberts sick on Saturday night.
Roberts made the tough decision to pull Hill after seven perfect innings in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 5-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.
Hill (12-3) had thrown 89 pitches and struck out nine when Roberts replaced the 35-year-old left-hander with Joe Blanton at the start of the eighth.
“I feel sick to my stomach,” said Roberts, trying to lead Los Angeles to the NL West title in his first year as Dodgers manager. “Rich had an opportunity of a lifetime. You take the personal aside. As a manager you are taking a lot of information.
“We have been dealing with Richie’s blister and that caused him to miss a lot of time this season.”
Hill didn’t pitch in the majors between May 29 and July 2 because of a strained left groin and between July 17 and Aug. 24 because of a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. He has pitched 19 scoreless innings since joining the Dodgers after an Aug. 1 trade with Oakland.
Hill felt he could have continued pitching.
“Obviously, I didn’t want to come out of the game,” Hill said. “But I think there is a bigger picture here and we all know what it is. Dave was in a very difficult position. You look at it and move on. That’s all you can do.”
Blanton struck out Christian Yelich and retired Marcell Ozuna a groundout before Jeff Francoeur singled to left. Grant Dayton gave up Dee Gordon’s two-out infield hit in the ninth that put two on and Kenley Jansen retired Martin Prado on a groundout to complete the two-hitter.
“In 11 years in the big leagues I’ve never had a no-hitter against my team,” Francoeur said. “I was praying to God this wasn’t the first time tonight. Luckily, we were able to come through with two hits.”
Hill has just three complete games in 91 big league starts over 12 seasons. On April 8, Roberts removed Ross Stripling with a no-hit bid after 7 1/3 innings and 100 pitches in a game the Dodgers lost to San Francisco 3-2 in 10 innings.
“To go 89 pitches, weighing the risks versus the opportunity and talking to the training staff and getting their advice and weighing it all up and what is right for Rich and the Dodgers, this is the decision I made,” Roberts said.
Los Angeles maintained its four-game lead in the division over second-place San Francisco, which won 11-3 at Arizona.
There has never been a combined perfect game. In what is considered to be an unofficial perfect game, Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox walked the Washington Senators’ Ray Morgan leading off on June 23, 1917 and Ruth was ejected. Ernie Shore relieved, Morgan was caught stealing and Shore retired the remaining 26 batters.
“This is probably the worst I’ve felt after a win,” Roberts said.
Dodgers left fielder Yasiel Puig, brought back from the minors on Sept. 2, made an outstanding diving catch for the final out of the seventh. Prado hit a drive to deep left-center and Puig sprinted and as he approached the warning track dived toward the wall to make the catch.
Joc Pederson made a sliding and diving catch on a drive to center by Ozuna in the second.
“That was an incredible play and when you see a no-hitter or perfect game, you never know what’s going to happen,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Pederson connected in the fifth and seventh innings, and Corey Seager and Justin Turner hit consecutive homers in the sixth, with Seager connecting for a two-run drive.
Pederson’s first homer of the night went into the upper deck in right field.
Tom Koehler (9-11) allowed four runs and six hits in five plus innings and Brian Ellington gave up Ellington’s second homer, Pederson’s 22nd this season. Koehler is 0-3 in his last five starts and has not won since Aug. 9.
For the second consecutive night, a foul ball hit the plate umpire. Tony Randazzo absorbed the shot after Josh Reddick’s foul swing bounced off Miami catcher Jeff Mathis’ mitt and struck Randazzo’s mask in the second inning. Temporarily dazed, Randazzo stayed in the game. On Friday, Brian Knight was hit in the mask area with a foul ball and left the game in the fifth. Chris Guccione replaced Knight on Saturday.
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded out to first in his season debut. Ethier broke his leg during spring training.
Marlins: Pitchers Wei-Yin Chen and Bryan Morris are to throw simulated games Sunday in attempts to determine if they will return during the final three weeks of the season. Chen has been sidelined since July 24 because of left elbow inflammation. Morris has missed the last three months because of a herniated lumbar disk in his back.
RHP Kenta Maeda (14-8) starts Sunday’s series finale for the Dodgers and RHP Jose Urena (3-6) for the Marlins.
This version corrects to unofficial perfect game on June 23, 1917.