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Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Trevor Bauer warms up prior to a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies.

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer warms up prior to Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Trevor Bauer’s first start in Chavez Ravine as a Dodger was nearly flawless Tuesday night with the exception of one throw to first base that — had it just been “a little more accurate” — might have turned his evening from memorable to historic.

The self-proclaimed “nerdy” kid from Santa Clarita who grew up attending Dodgers games with his father was dominant in a 7-0 win over the Colorado Rockies, giving up one hit, striking out nine and walking two in seven innings, his only blemish a dribbler that Garrett Hampson beat out for a third-inning single.

“I was a sliding backhand [play] away from probably throwing a no-hitter,” said Bauer, who is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts since signing a three-year, $102-million deal with the Dodgers last winter. “I had really good stuff. I wish I could have been a little more accurate on that throw and had a chance to finish it off.”

Hampson opened the third with a tapper between the mound and third base. Bauer, who once described himself as being “probably in the bottom 25% of athletes in the big leagues, just on pure athletic capability,” responded with an acrobatic effort that belied his self-assessment.

After taking a few quick steps toward the ball, Bauer slid to the ground and, in one motion, scooped the ball up with his bare hand, sprang to his feet and threw high to first baseman Max Muncy, who caught the ball but not before the speedy leadoff man crossed the bag.

Would a perfect throw have gotten Hampson?

“I think if it was kind of knee-high, where Munce could have stretched … he beat the throw to the base, but if Munce could have cut the distance down a little bit and caught it in front of the base, I think we might have had him,” Bauer said. “It would have been bang-bang, though. It probably would have gone to replay.”

Hampson took second on a groundout and third on a passed ball but was stranded when Bauer, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his Dodgers debut at Colorado on April 2, struck out Trevor Story with a nasty 85-mph slider to end the inning.

Bauer’s only other trouble came in the second, a 28-pitch inning that began with walks to Charlie Blackmon and C.J. Cron and Bauer’s questioning of home-plate umpire Tom Hallion’s strike zone.

“I actually had a brain fart in the second — I thought it was 2-and-2 to Blackmon, I threw a curveball and it was actually 3-2,” Bauer said. “I usually don’t have mental mistakes like that during games.”

The full-count cut-fastball he threw to Cron “was 100% a strike,” Bauer said. “I don’t even consider it a walk. He just completely missed that call.”

Bauer escaped the jam by striking out Raimel Tapia with a cutter, getting Josh Fuentes to pop out to first and whiffing Elias Diaz with another cutter, the start of a stretch of dominance in which Bauer retired 18 of the last 19 batters he faced.

Bauer threw 99 pitches in the game, 68 for strikes —19 of them called and 16 swings and misses. He leaned most heavily on a four-seam fastball that averaged 92.9 mph and topped out at 97.3 mph and a cut-fastball that averaged 86 mph, and he froze several batters with his 81-mph slider and 79-mph knuckle-curve.

Outside of the 28-pitch second and 20-pitch third, Bauer threw no more than 13 pitches in any of the other five innings.

He even broke out his one-eyed-jack attack in the sixth, pointing to his right eye and then closing it as he delivered an 82-mph slider to Story, who grounded out to shortstop to end the inning. Bauer said he threw most of a 27-pitch inning in his second spring-training start with his right eye closed.

“What can you say — the guy competes, he makes pitches when he needs to,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Early on, there was a little stress. He got out that inning unscathed, and he got through seven innings. That’s why he’s a star pitcher. It’s fun to watch him compete.”

Bauer wasn’t at all distracted by a story that appeared last week in the Athletic, which reported that several balls that umpires had gathered throughout the right-hander’s April 7 start at Oakland “had visible markings and were sticky.” Bauer held the Athletics to two runs and three hits and struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings.

Bauer, who has been an outspoken critic of Major League Baseball’s efforts to police the use of foreign substances, implying in a 2018 tweet that the Houston Astros doctored baseballs to increase spin rates, accused MLB of leaking the story. Roberts said he thought Bauer was being “singled out.”

Two league officials told The Times that umpires have been instructed to collect balls from every game, used by any pitcher, to be sent to an authenticator. MLB informed teams last month that it would crack down on pitchers using foreign substances to doctor balls.

“MLB is just collecting baseballs to do a study. No one is under investigation,” Bauer said. “These gossip bloggers are trying to throw water on my name, or they have personal vendettas [against me], I guess.”

Bauer said there has been no communication from the league to either him or the Dodgers since the report.

“There wouldn’t be any communication because MLB is just collecting baseballs from every single game and every pitcher and doing an internal study,” Bauer said. “Nothing was different from my game and the balls they took from me than the balls they took from every other game. There’s no difference.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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