Buchholz surprised by first save

Buchholz surprised by first save

DENVER -- When Taylor Buchholz retired the Los Angeles Dodgers in order in the ninth inning on Sunday, he did something he had never done before in his entire career. And he didn't even realize it.

Scott Podsednik's catch of Andre Ethier's routine fly ball to center field for the final out gave Buchholz -- a starting pitcher until last season -- his first save at any level of baseball.

"It was my first one -- ever -- and I had no clue that I got it until after the game,'' Buchholz said. "I wasn't even thinking about it when I went in there.''

Maybe that was because Buchholz entered the game with two outs in the top of the eighth, the bases loaded and the Rockies clinging to a 6-2 lead. He struck out Matt Kemp to end the inning, and the Rockies added another run in the bottom of the eighth for a five-run lead in a 7-2 victory.

"I was just trying to be as efficient as possible,'' Buchholz said.

Buchholz has handled pretty much everything thrown his way this season, with a 1.53 ERA and only nine hits allowed in his first 17 2/3 innings. As a result, he has moved from long man/middle reliever to a setup man. The save opportunity was his first, but there is nothing in the works as far as more chances at the expense of closer Brian Fuentes.

"Brian is our closer,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. "But if situations come up where he has pitched a few days in a row, and an opportunity arises, [Buchholz] could get an opportunity.''

Buchholz says he will be ready whenever Hurdle calls.

"I'm confident enough to think I can [save games],'' Buchholz said. "It's nice to know they're confident enough to send me out there. I just take the ball when they tell me."

Tony DeMarco is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.