Clayton Kershaw’s Curve and Offensive Fireworks Propel Dodgers into First Place


The Giants have lost 15 of their last 19, and the Cincinnati Reds completed the sweep of San Francisco on Sunday. The Dodgers, with the series win against St. Louis, move into a first-place tie with the Giants. Thanks to Clayton Kershaw‘s utter dominance, a huge three-run homerun from Andre Ethier, and scoreless work from Brandon League and Jamey Wright out of the bullpen, the Dodgers clipped the Red Birds‘ feathers and surely ruffled a bunch of feathers up in San Francisco.

Clayton Kershaw continues to just pitch with extraordinary dominance, and he whiffed a baker’s dozen in Sunday’s shutout against the Red Birds. The best pitcher in baseball has propelled his team into first-place.

The Dodgers’ offense has been taking off even without Hanley Ramirez who may be placed on the D.L. with a calf strain and Justin Turner who is already DL’d with a hamstring pull. Adrian Gonzalez came up with a clutch single, and Kemp also has been contributing with the bat while knocking in a run. The big hit of course was Andre Ethier’s three-run homerun, only his fourth homerun of the season. The Dodgers have made up a lot of ground thanks to shored up defense, increasing offense, stellar starting pitching, and even some progress with the bullpen.

Dodgers 6 8 1

Cardinals 0 6 0

WP- Kershaw (9-2)

LP- Miller (7-7)

HR- Ethier (4)

Matt Carpenter slaps a base hit to left field to open the game in the top of the first. Matt Holliday flies out to Yasiel Puig in right field. Kershaw strikes out both Jhonny Peralta and Allen Craig to end the inning.

Shelby Miller strikes out Dee Gordon, Yasiel Puig, and Adrian Gonzalez in the home half of the first.

Yadier Molina continues to give the Dodgers a bad time. The catcher strokes a double to left field which bounces off the wall. Kersh strikes out Peter Bourjos and Shane Robinson. Juan Uribe handles a little ground ball to third by Mark Ellis, and the Molina lead-off double isn’t cashed in.

Miller sends the Dodgers down in order in the bottom of the second.

Kersh strikes out Miller to begin the third inning, but Matt Carpenter picks up his second single against the southpaw. Carpenter scurries over to second base while Holliday is busy striking out at the plate. Kershaw allows the rare walk, a free pass to Peralta with two outs. Kershaw pulls the string with a slow curveball to strikeout Allen Craig for the third out. “What a mean pitch.” – Vin Scully

More strikeouts in the bottom of the third. A.J. Ellis is called out on strikes. Miguel Rojas is out on a bunted pop up to first. Kershaw draws a two-out walk, and that’s the Dodgers first base runner of the game. Gordon lasers a line drive to first, but Allen Craig is there to snare it and robs Gordon of a base hit.

In the top of the fourth, Kershaw strikes out another two hitters! Bourjos and Robinson both strike out for the second time, and Clayton now has 9 strikeouts through 4 frames. Incredible. He has made 68 pitches to this point, so not exactly “efficient.”

The Dodgers still haven’t mustered a hit off Shelby, who has 4 strikeouts of his own going into his fourth inning of work. Puig draws a lead-off walk in the bottom of the fourth. Adrian Gonzalez drops a beautiful bunt down seemingly out of nowhere for an infield single. Gonzo responded to St. Louis’s shift, and he laid that bunt toward third where no one was. That’s the first Dodger hit of the game. Matt Kemp comes up clutch, and his long single to center brings home Puig! Gonzo makes it all the way to third on the RBI single. Ethier flies out to shallow center, but Bourjos catches up to it for just the first out of the inning. Juan Uribe’s deep fly ball to center easily allows Gonzo to score, and the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead. A.J. Ellis draws a

Jun 29, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier (16) rounds 3rd base heading for home plate after hitting a 3-run home run in the 5th inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

walk, and Shelby Miller has unraveled a bit here in the inning. Rojas pops up to end the inning, but the Dodgers notch two runs.

Kershaw picks up his tenth strikeout in the top of the fifth, but Matt Carpenter also picks up his third hit of the game versus the Cy Young Award winner with a big double to center field. Andre Ethier falls trying to get to the Carpenter ball, but Holliday grounds out to end the inning anyway.

The Dodgers knock around Miller in the bottom of the fifth.  Dee Gordon singles with one, but Gordon is mowed down by Molina trying to steal second with Puig at-bat. Puig then proceeds to double (his 20th double of the season). Gonzo comes up with the big hit, and he singles to center field bringing in the run with Puig! Matt Kemp slices a double to left field over the head of Craig. That’s also Kemp’s 20th double of the season. Then Andre Ethier blasts a no-doubter three-run homerun to right field! The Dodgers take a 6-0 lead off the two doubles, single, and three-run shot by Dre!

In the sixth, Kershaw strikes out Peralta but walks Craig. Kershaw takes care of Molina and Bourjos to end the scoreless inning.

Seth Maness will relieve Miller in the bottom of the sixth. A.J. Ellis leads off with a single to right field, but the Dodgers can’t muster much else off Maness.

Shelby Miller pitched 5 innings and allowed 6 runs on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts and 3 walks on 71 pitches.

Mellis doubles off the left bullpen gate for a one-out double in the top of the seventh. Jon Jay strikes out for the second out. Kershaw then finally retires Matt Carpenter, and he picks up his 13th strikeout in the process. Wow!

After the seventh inning stretch, Jorge Rondon will come in to pitch for the Cardinals. He was just called up by St. Louis. Rondon retires Puig and Gonzo, but he walks Puig with two outs. Ethier grounds out to end the inning.

Clayton Kershaw pitched 7 innings and allowed no runs and 5 hits with 13 strikeouts and 2 walks on 109 pitches. His ERA has really gone down and now sits at 2.04.

Brandon League will take over for Kersh in the eighth. League pitches a scoreless frame and only allows a two-out single to Allen Craig.

Jason Motte will pitch the bottom of the eighth for St. Louis. Uribe and Clint Robinson draw walks in the inning, but Motte retires the side

Jun 29, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) throws in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

without incident.

With the news that the Reds beat the Giants, the Dodgers are three outs away from first place in the NL West. Jamey Wright will pitch the top of the ninth. Bourjos reaches safely on a fielding error by Uribe at third as the ball goes under his glove. Shane Robinson grounds out. Mellis and Jay both ground out, and the Dodgers are in first place!

On June 8th, the Dodgers were 9 1/2 games back.

The Dodgers improve to 47-37 on the season. The Cleveland Indians comes into town on Monday for a three-game set at Dodger Stadium. Dan Haren will face Corey Kluber for the series opener.