Clayton Kershaw Shines Bright, Brandon League Blows it, but Dodgers Come Back to Win
Dodgers 7 12 0
Rockies 5 10 0
WP- League (1-2)
LP- Betancourt (1-3)
S- Belisario (1)
HR- Helton (4)
Clayton Kershaw is the perfect baseball player. Not only is he arguably the best pitcher in the game, but he can hit (.241 BA with 2 hits in the game), he can field with a great pick-off move, and he shines bright during high stake situations. Kershaw deserved the win tonight, but alas it was the WORST pitcher on the team who picked up the W. This just goes to show how meaningless wins and losses are for pitchers. Brandon League blew the save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth inning after allowing Todd Helton, who historically destroys the Dodgers, to tie the game up with a two-run homerun. All Kersh’s hard work was thrown out the window, and the game looked like it was slipping away.
Clayton Kershaw deserved the win tonight as he pitched another solid game. He’s on his way to his second Cy Young Award.
The Dodgers did something which is rare for them. They came back to win. Yes, they came back in the bottom of the tenth inning thanks to the usage of the pinch-runner. The pinch-runner is a strategy rarely employed by Mattingly partly due to the fact that there is absolutely no speed on the bench. This time Crawford was available even though he has been bothered with a sore back. Thanks to a Ramon Hernandez single (the clean-up hitter had two hits on the night) and three well hit balls by Schumaker, Cruz, and Uribe, the Dodgers retook the lead in the bottom of the tenth. Ronald Belisario was able to close it out and pick up his first save of the season.
Former Dodger Jon Garland retires Mark Ellis, Andre Ethier, and Adrian Gonzalez on three consecutive grounders to start the game in the top of the first inning.
Clayton Kershaw struggles with his control a little bit early, and he walks lead-off hitter Eric Young on four pitches. Dexter Fowler lines into a 4-3 double play. Troy Tulowitzki grounds out to third baseman Juan Uribe to end the inning.
In the second, Ramon Hernandez is thrown out on the fifth consecutive ground ball induced by Garland. Scott Van Slyke strikes out, and Skip Schumaker grounds out as the Dodgers go down in order again.
Kershaw’s first strikeout victim is Michael Cuddyer in the home half of the second. Wilin Rosario and Jordan Pacheco both groundout, and both teams remain hitless.
In the top of the third Luis Cruz gets plunked by a pitch on the knuckles of his right hand, and he goes down writhing
Juan Uribe had 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, and a walk in the win. Photo: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
in pain. Sue Falsone and Don Mattingly come out to check the injury out, and although his hand is shaking from the pain he remains in the game. Juan Uribe then proceeds to double down the left field line, and Cruz cruises across the plate for a Dodger run! Kershaw successfully bunts Uribe over to third. Mark Ellis cashes in a second run with a beautiful single right up the middle, and the Dodgers lead 2-0. With Andre Ethier at the plate, Ellis steals his second base of the year. Ethier draws a walk, and Gonzalez singles to left which brings in Ellis and the third run of the inning. Hernandez grounds into a double play to end the inning, but the Dodgers hang three on the board.
Kersh pitches another quick and breezy 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third.
Scott Van Slyke doubles to lead-off the top of the fourth inning for the Dodgers. Skip grounds out, and Cruz collects his signature pop-out. Then the Rockies hilariously intentionally walk Juan Uribe which is a big mistake. Kershaw promptly crushes a double to the gap, and Uribe scores the fifth Dodger run! MEllis draws a two-out walk. Ethier lines out to end the frame.
Kershaw finally allows a hit in the bottom of the fourth inning to Dexter fowler. Tulowitzki reaches safely on a questionable error after MEllis knocks down the ball, but the umpire calls Tulo safe at first on the throw. That should have been ruled a base hit. Cuddyer singles to right field, and the Rockies get on the board as Fowler scores. Tulo scores on a grounder by Rosario. Pacheco grounds out to third to end the inning, but the Rockies score two runs on three singles.
Adrian Gonzalez hits a deep fly ball to begin the fifth inning, but Eric Young picks it off for a nice catch. Hernandez grounds out. SVS comes up with his second hit of the night, a two-out single. Shumaker singles to left, and he makes a heads up play by taking second when Young throws to third base on the play. The runners are stranded thanks to a fly ball out by Cruz.
Rookie Nolan Arenado leads off the bottom of the fifth with a line drive single, but no damage is done as Kershaw retires the next three batters.
Jon Garland pitched 5 innings and allowed 5 runs on 7 hits with 1 strikeout and 3 walks on 93 pitches.
I’m not sure how much longer Jon Garland’s career will last. Photo: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Rockies have a new pitcher in the sixth inning as Rob Scahill, a right-hander, comes out of the Colorado pen in relief of Garland. Clayton Kershaw picks up his second hit of the night, a one-out single to left. His batting average is up to .250. Mark Ellis draws a walk. Ethier grounds into a force out, and the Dodgers have runners at first and third with two out. Gonzo hits a comebacker to Scahill, and the runners are stranded.
Dexter Fowler bunts for a base hit to begin the bottom of the sixth for the Rockies, but that’s all Colorado can muster off of Kersh in the inning.
Hernandez leads off the seventh with a single, but Van Slyke grounds into a double play and Schumaker grounds out to end the inning.
The Rockies come alive in the bottom of the seventh. After Pacheco strikes out, Arenado draws a walk and DJ LeMahieu doubles to left field. Carlos Gonzalez comes up to pinch-hit with runners at second and third. Kersh rears back and strikes him out on three pitches! Kersh induces a inning ending groundout from EY, and the runners are stranded. Wow, Kershaw is simply amazing.
Wilton Lopez will pitch the eighth for the Rockies. Cruz flies out, and Uribe strikes out. Kershaw, who’s still in the game, grounds out as the Dodgers go down quickly in order against Lopez.
Fowler leads off the eighth with his third hit of the night off of Kershaw. Tulowitzki follows with a long single, and the Rockies all of a sudden have men at first and third with nobody out. Don Mattingly will go to the bullpen, and he’ll bring in Kenley Jansen to relieve Kersh. The ball gets away from Jansen, and he plunks Cuddyer with a pitch to load the bases up. Rosario grounds into a double play, but a run does score. It’s 5-3 Dodgers, and the run is charged to Kershaw. Pacheco grounds out, and the damage is contained to one run.
Clayton Kershaw pitched 7 innings and allowed 3 runs on 8 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks on 100 pitches.
Todd Helton continues to torment the Dodgers. Photo: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Outman, a southpaw, is in for the Rockies in the top of the ninth, and he quickly sends the Dodgers down in order.
Brandon “Little” League will try to close up shop for the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth inning to no avail. League strikes out Arenado for out #1. LeMahieu singles to right field. The obligatory wild pitch allows LeMahieu to move to second. On the 11th pitch in the at-bat to pinch-hitter Todd Helton, the veteran crushes a two-run homerun to tie up the game 5-5. Brandon League can do no right. Kershaw’s win is gone in the blink of an eye. Young grounds out, and Fowler lines out to short yet League blows the save.
We head to the tenth inning at Coors Field. Rafael Betancourt will pitch for the Rockies. Hernandez singles to lead off, and Crawford will pinch-run. Van Slyke strikes out on a check swing. Schumaker singles to right, but Crawford doesn’t have a good read on the ball and is only able to make it to third. Cruz drills a comebacker which is deflected off Betancourt, and Crawford scores giving the Dodgers a 6-5 lead! Uribe comes up big with a RBI single, and the Dodgers add an insurance run to their lead. With Tim Federowicz pinch-hitting, Uribe steals his first base of the year. FedEx strikes out, but the Dodgers lead 7-5.
Ronald Belisario and FedEx will be the battery for the bottom of the tenth. Tulo flies out to deep right field where Ethier is there against the wall to make the catch. Phew! That was very close to going out. Cuddyer and Rosario both ground out to short, and the Dodgers win!
Well that was a rare comeback win from the Dodgers as well as a rare divisional win. They improve to 23-30 on the season as they shut the door on a very gray May.
Saturday afternoon will feature Zack Greinke versus Jhoulys Chacin in game two. The Dodgers will look to start the new month on a winning note and put the disastrous month of May behind them.