New Dodgers beat up on NL Central Champs: 5-3

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Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22)  Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

After missing 12 days, Clayton Kershaw was hardly dominant, issuing 5 walks and 5 hits over 5 innings while getting 5 k’s. But it was Adrian Gonzalez who came through with two big solo home runs to give Shawn Tolleson the win.

Perhaps it was a game in which we saw a new Dodger team. Clayton Kershaw pitched with a bad hip. Adrian Gonzalez homered for the first time in over 100 at bats (twice). Dee Gordon filled in, dramatically, at short stop. Belisario gave up runs for the first time in 20 innings. Juan Uribe not only played but got a hit. A.J. Ellis broke his 0-30 slump. Un-clutch lead off hitter Mark Ellis managed to get a hit with a runner in scoring position. The first hit with a RISP in ages!

It looked like it was going to be another boring loss for the boys when Homer Bailey retired the side in order in the first. Kershaw gave up a hit by pitch to lead off hitter Cheis Heaisey, then old friend Wilson Valdez grounded into a force out, Votto walked, Frazier struck out, Miguel Cairo singled, and Kershaw escaped unscathed when Denis Phipps flied out to center.

Adrian Gonzalez led off the second with a big blast to right field. Beyond an Elian Herrera walk the Dodgers offense continued to struggle. Kershaw finished the second while only handing out a free pass to Ryan Hanigan.

The Dodgers top of the third had Kershaw, Ellis, and Ethier going down in order. Ethier, by the way is now 0-15 against Homer Bailey. At some point in time, Donnie Baseball has to start looking at numbers and making changes. In the bottom of the third Clayton Kershaw gave the run back by walking Valdez and Votto before leaving  one over the plate to Todd Frazier, who singled to center scoring Valdez. Kershaw then coerced Miguel Cairo into a double play and struck out Denis Phipps to end the inning.

Kemp, Gonzo, and Ramirez were retired quietly in the 4th. But Kershaw again struggled to hold the Reds down completely as Drew Stubbs singled and then got picked off. Kershaws 10th pick off of the season. Then Clayton gave up back to back singles to Bailey and Heisey. Wilson Valdez managed a walk to load the bases for the always threatening Joey “Bats” Votto. Kershaw struck him out!

Again the Dodgers silently and meekly went down in the 5th. But Kershaw answered the toll in this his last inning when he struck out Frazier, and Phipps (again), and got Cairo to fly out to Herrera. Though this was Claytons last inning, it was a relief to see him hit his normal velocity with his typical mechanics. He was definitely missing his spots, as the 5 walks will attest, but it didn’t look like he was suffering after only 92 pitches.

To replace Kershaw in the 6th was Juan Uribe. The very same Juan Uribe who hasn’t gotten into a game since August 26th! Of all the people to put in there, why Juan Uribe? This is the same guy who I have hoped (almost since the moment we signed him) that we would release him. And somehow, he singles? He used up all the karma for inning with that single as Mark Ellis, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp all went down quietly. Tolleson finished off the 6th easily on a strikeout and two ground outs.

Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Then up came Adrian Gonzalez in the 7th. Leading off the inning again Adrian promptly deposited the first pitch he saw into the Reds bullpen in left center. Then, Hanley Ramirez fouled a ball off his shin. After hobbling and limping around for a bit, he stepped back into the box to nail the first pitch he saw into left field. Hanley barely made it to first and was replaced by Dee Gordon. Like I said, it was a time for change, and injuries, it appears were going to force their agenda.

Elian Herrera struck out, but our favorite mexican, Luis Cruz extended the inning by singling to right. A.J Ellis (0-30) was forced to sacrifice/safety squeeze and Dee Gordon scampered home on the throw. Cruz also made it third while Cairo bobbled the ball at first. Bobby Abreu then walked on four pitches. With two outs and runners on first and  third, Mark Ellis delivered a clutch two out double down the left field line to score Cruz. Ethier then singled off new reliever Jose Arredondo to bring in Abreu and the 4th run of the inning. The Dodgers haven’t scored four runs in an inning since a August 28th on a A.J.Ellis grand slam!

The Dodgers made things interesting in the 8th when Dee Gordon sailed a throw into the stands before Phips connected on a deep shot to left field to make the score 5-3.

In the top of the 9th, again the the Dodgers broke the mold of offensive inept that they have shown over the last few weeks as A.J Ellis connected on a double to center breaking his 0-30+ slump. And though the team failed to score, it was a huge relief to see A.J. be rewarded for his great contact.

Brandon League came in for the 9th to seal the deal. With two outs and Votto on first, Todd Frazier grounded to Dee Gordon. Gordon managed to sail his throw wide to first, but gold glover Ardian Gonzalez was there to make the catch and the tag on Frazier to end the game.

With the win the Dodgers improve to 79-74 and need to basically win out the season for any shot at the playoffs. Both the Cardinals and Brewers won, meaning the Dodgers didn’t gain any ground with tonight’s win, but simply held serve.