The Martin family had its flights and hotels just about set for their July trip to see Dos Palos High graduate Cody Martin, who started the season pitching for Double-A baseball's Mississippi Braves, an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.
But the organization threw a wrench in those plans Tuesday when it called Martin up to the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves of the International League to replace Cory Rasmus, who joined the parent club.
Martin was supposed to stay for only one game, but then he showed what he was capable of in a 2-0 road win over the Buffalo Bisons (Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays), throwing seven scoreless innings while striking out seven and allowing just two hits.
"It was kind of one of those things I was hoping would happen this year. It just happened earlier than I anticipated," Martin said. "It kind of put some energy back in the pitching. It's near the midpoint, and we've been doing the same thing since March. Just to change things up was awesome."
For now, Martin is staying with the triple-A club, but the Martins don't know exactly what to do with their travel plans.
"His pitching coach in Mississippi said, 'Give them a reason to keep you there,' " said Chuck Martin, Cody's father and superintendent of the Chowchilla Elementary School District. "He found that strike zone and got the win. He was originally going to go for the spot start and go back down, and after the start they said, 'Cancel your flight. You're staying with us.' He doesn't know how long it is. For now it's start-to-start."
The game developed into a pitcher's duel between Martin and Dave Bush, a veteran of 171 Major League Baseball starts. Bush didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning, when a walk and a hit batsman put a runner in scoring position. Gwinnett's Brandon Boggs launched a double that put Martin's team up 1-0 enough to give Martin the 'W' after relievers Joe Beimel and Wirfin Obispo preserved the shutout.
"I didn't really recognize it at first, then I started talking to the guys about him. He had a no-hitter going into the sixth," Cody Martin said. "He was doing the same thing I was doing. You throw strikes and get ahead of guys, and good things happen. It gave me some confidence, just watching how he does his thing. Baseball's still baseball."
Martin maintained his signature calmness, but it was still a relief to get that first out.
"I threw him four fastballs and I struck him out," Martin said. "I wasn't trying to strike him out, just throw strikes and get ahead. I was like, all right, it works for me. Just establish the fastball and throw strikes."