Battle of the Titans: Part I
Dodgers- 7 10 1
White Sox- 6 9 0
WP- Belisario (2-0)
LP- Thornton (2-4)
S- Jansen (11)
HR- Dunn (23), Rios (7,8)
It was supposed to be an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel. Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was to battle eight-game winner and fellow southpaw Chris Sale. The game was anything but low-scoring, as both teams scored a combined 13 runs, and neither starting pitcher was part of the decision. Clayton Kershaw was stung by the long-ball once again tonight. He has allowed 10 homeruns in 13 games so far this season. As I have been saying now for awhile, I cannot believe that his plantar fasciitis isn’t affecting his pitching. This definitely isn’t the Kersh we are used to. Yet, even though Kersh allowed 5 runs (4 earned), the Dodgers battled back . Chris Sale, the skinny lefty, started out a bit wild in the first inning, but settled down nicely through the next four frames. The Dodgers would come back in typical 2012 style by plating 5 runs in the sixth inning to take over the lead. It was the Alex and Elian show tonight. Alex Rios had three hits, two of which were homers, and two RBI for the White Sox. Elian Herrera, our silent MVP, had two hits and three RBI. The two first-place teams and Spring Training roommates, were tied up at 6 apiece until the Dodgers scored a go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Thornton in the bottom half of the eighth inning. Here’s how the Dodgers came back from the brink:
Clayton Kershaw opens the game by striking out Alejandro De Aza, but Gordon Beckham follows with a bloop single to center field. Adam Dunn comes up and promptly homers to right field, and the White Sox have a 2-0 lead before the seats are even warm. Paul Konerko grounds out, and Alex Rios flies out.
Chris Sale goes to work in the bottom of the first inning, and he allows a lead-off walk to Dee Gordon. Elian Herrera connects for a long double, and Gordon comes home to score easily. 2-1 Sox. Juan Rivera grounds out, and Andre Ethier flies out. Herrera takes third on a passed ball by Pierzynski while Jerry Hairston Jr. is at bat. JHair draws a two-out walk. A.J. Ellis grounds out to end the inning.
Kershaw gets the White Sox’s A.J.-A.J. Pierzynski to fly out, but Alexei Ramirez
follows up with a single. Dee Gordon goes up the ladder to rob Orlando Hudson of a single with a nice grab on his soft liner. Kershaw whiffs Chris Sale on a breaking ball. That was a very nasty pitch to someone who never bats, but we’ll take the out.
In the bottom of the second Juan Uribe leads off with a single, but the Dodgers can’t do much else.
Kersh strikes out De Aza in the third, and Beckham grounds out. This time Kershaw doesn’t take his chances with Adam Dunn a.k.a Ogre, and he walks him with two outs. Dunn takes second on a wild pitch while Konerko is in the batter’s box. Konerko proceeds to dunk a single into right field, and Dunn scores easily giving the White Sox a 3-1 edge. Alex Rios then hits a huge double off the center field wall, and Konerko ends up at third. Pierzynski strikes out swinging, and he angrily hits his bat on the ground even though his team is up by two.
Down goes Herrera on strikes to begin the bottom of the third inning. Rivera flies out. Ethier singles as he hits the ball right off the tip of the bat. The skinny side-armed pitcher walks Hairston. Ellis strikes out, and the Dodgers strand another two runners. They have stranded five in three innings.
Ramirez singles, although Gordon tries to make a whirling throw to get him. Then there’s another wild pitch from Clayton Kershaw, and Ramirez advances to second while Hudson is batting. Hudson singles to short, and Dee throws the ball away which allows Ramirez to score. Hudson goes to second on the play. 4-1 Chicago. That’s 13 errors on the season for Dee (he leads the Majors in errors). Sale sacrifices Hudson over to third successfully. De Aza strikes out, and Beckham walks to bring up Dunn of course. Luckily Kershaw strikes out Dunn this time, but the White Sox manage to score yet another run.
In the bottom of the fourth the Dodgers go down quickly and quietly in order.
Clayton Kershaw seems to be laboring on the mound as he serves up another homerun to Alex Rios! Kersh’s foot must be the issue, I refuse to believe it’s not affecting his pitching. The White Sox are now up 5-1. Chicago has scored off Kershaw in every inning thus far except in the second inning.
Dee Gordon singles to lead off the bottom of the fifth. The Dodgers have a ton of catching up to do if they want to have a look at this game. With Herrera at bat, Dee steals second (lucky stolen base number 21). Herrera makes the first out by whiffing. Rivera pops out. Beckham makes a diving stop to rob Ethier of a base hit, and the Dodgers can’t muster anything in the inning.
In the sixth Clayton Kershaw retires the side in order for the first time of the night.
We finally get to Sale in the sixth as he’s tiring. Hairston walks, and A.J. Ellis singles to start off the inning for the Dodgers. Juan Uribe whacks a double down the third base line which bounces off Orlando Hudson’s glove. Hairston brings in the second run of the night for the Dodgers. Tony Gwynn Jr., whose batting average has plummeted of late, strikes out. He’s angry at himself as he slams his bat down. Ivan De Jesus pinch-hits for Kershaw, and he comes up with a RBI single! 5-3 Sox. Dee Gordon bunts out as the ball deflects off Konerko’s glove, and Beckham catches it with his bare hand. Wow. “It’s the old 3-4 pop-fly!” – Vin Scully Chris Sale’s night is done, as Chicago goes to the bullpen. Jesse Crain comes in out of the pen. Elian Herrera then does it again as he doubles in the right field corner to bring in two runs and to tie the game at 5! Herrera now has 3 RBI on the night. Rivera singles on a 0-2 strikes count, and Herrera brings in another run as the Dodgers take a 6-5 lead! Dre strikes out, but not before the Dodgers hang a high-five in the inning.
Clayton Kershaw pitched 6 innings, allowing 8 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts on 104 pitches.
Chris Sale pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing 7 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks, and 6 strikeouts on 107 pitches.
Todd Coffey takes over for Kershaw in the seventh inning. Coffey gets Beckham to fly out, and then Mattingly brings in Scott Elbert to pitch to Dunn as we hold our breath. Luckily Rivera is playing shifted over, and he’s there to get a groundball down the line hit by the Ogre. Now the third pitcher of the inning for the Dodgers is called in as they bring in Ronald Belisario. We like to call this the three-headed reliever. Konerko flies out.
Nate Jones is pitching for Chicago in the bottom of the seventh who sends the Dodgers down 1-2-3.
Belly is in again to pitch the eighth inning. Alex Rios then hits his second homerun of the night, and the game is all tied up again 6-6. The newly bespectacled Belisario retires the next three batters, but Alex Rios strikes again.
Matt Thornton, a lefty, will pitch to the Dodgers in the bottom of the eighth. Tony Gwynn strikes out for the third time of the night. James Loney gets a base hit. Dee Gordon draws a walk. Herrera grounds into a force play, and Loney ends up at third on the play as Dee’s slide into second base prevents the double play. A wild pitch allows the go-ahead run to score, and Loney brings in the seventh run for the Dodgers! They take back the lead 7-6. Bobby Abreu strikes out.
Kenley Jansen will try to close up shop in the ninth. Eduardo Escobar is called out on strikes after 7 pitches. De Aza grounds out to first. Jansen whiffs Beckham, and the Dodgers win their 41st of the year!
The Giants beat the Mariners earlier, so the four-game lead in the standings remains the same.
Tomorrow evening game two will commence at 7:10 pm and will feature Chad Billingsley versus Philip Humber. If you remember, Humber pitched a perfect game back on April 21st against the Seattle Mariners. Remember how I said that I hate Interleague Play? Well. I admit this one was fun.