Bases-Clearing Gifts On Mother’s Day, Dodgers Beat Rockies 9-5
It was a surreal setting for baseball this morning. Mother’s Day in Denver and the field was covered in snow. Fast forward a few hours, mix in a grip of quality shovel work by the Colorado grounds crew, and the field was postcard perfect. The temperature still hung at an icy 37 at first pitch, but otherwise the show went on and the Dodgers nabbed another victory over the Rockies thanks to a clutch bases-clearing double by Adrian Gonzalez and a pinch-hit home run by Justin Turner.
Dodgers 9 9 0
Rockies 5 9 1
Baez (W, 1-0) Oberg (L, 1-1) Turner (HR, 5)
Clayton Kershaw made his 4th attempt to achieve his 100th victory. The 3-time Cy Young winner has looked shaky at times this year, not yet approaching the dominance of a season ago. One telling stat is opposition batting average on Clayton with runners in scoring position. Last year, batters were hitting under .200 with RISP. So far this season they are hitting .395. In chilly conditions and opting not to wear long sleeves, Kershaw took to the mound against Colorado’s Jorge De La Rosa in search for another milestone.
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The Dodgers got their first run early. Alex Guerrero led off the Dodger 2nd with a stand up double to the right-center gap. Chris Heisey followed with a single to left, sending Guerrero to third. Kike Hernandez grounded into a fielder’s choice, Heisey was out at second, but Guerrero scored, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 3rd Kershaw gathered his 1500th career strike out on a high arching curve ball to Drew Stubbs. Clayton finished the game with 5 strikeouts, pushing his league-leading season total to 56. Kershaw’s 100th victory will have to wait, but the man continues to pile up the Ks at an astounding rate.
After a Howie Kendrick strikeout to start the 4th inning, Adrian Gonzalez launched a stand up double to the right-center gap. Guerrero then struck out before Rockies starter De La Rosa lost nearly all sense of control. He walked Heisey, Hernandez, and A.J. Ellis in order, forcing in Gonzalez to score making it 2-0. Kershaw bailed out his counterpart by bouncing out meekly to De La Rosa to end the inning, but De La Rosa’s control problems would make an encore soon after.
May 10, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcherClayton Kershaw
(22) prepares to deliver a pitch in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The bottom of the 4th was a nightmare for Kershaw. DJ LeMahieu started things off with a walk. Troy Tulowitzki followed with a single to right, moving LeMahieu to second. Nolan Arenado flied out to center, allowing LeMahieu to advance to third. He then scored when Wilin Rosario smacked a single to left, sending Tulowitzki to second. The first pitch-swinging Nick Hundley then singled down the right field line, scoring Tulowitzki to tie the game at 2 and sending Rosario to third.
Stubbs reached first when he chopped at a ball that died a quarter of the way to the mound, leaving Ellis with little chance of throwing out anyone. Rafael Ynoa then grounded out to first scoring Rosario from third and giving the Rockies their first lead of the day. To cap things off for Kershaw, Rockies pitcher De La Rosa singled weakly up the middle scoring 2 more runs. Kershaw got Charlie Blackmon to ground out to second, ending the threat, but the Rockies now had what would turn out to be a tenuous 5-2 lead.
After throwing 33 pitches to get through the first 3 innings, Kershaw threw another 33 in the 4th inning alone. He finished with 109 before being replaced by Pedro Baez with 2 outs in the 6th, his most pitches in a game this season. It seems to be a recurring pattern for Kershaw this year. He blows through the first 3 innings, but once that lineup turns over, the hitters make adjustments that get the better of last year’s MVP in innings 4-6. The Rockies were 4-for-10 today with runners in scoring position against Kershaw, continuing a negative trend this season.
In his previous few starts, Kershaw has had trouble getting the run support of some of his fellow starters. That wouldn’t be the case today.
Starting the 5th, De La Rosa retook the mound hoping to have sorted out his control problems. Instead he walked Joc Pederson, Jimmy Rollins, and Kendrick successively, loading the bases. Up came Gonzalez who deftly hit a bases clearing double down the right field line, tying the score at 5. It would be the last order of business for De La Rosa before being replaced by Christian Bergman.
The double was Gonzalez’s 14th of the season, tying him for first in the National League with Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals and Freddie Freeman of the Braves.
May 10, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second basemanHowie Kendrick
(47) reacts to scoring a run in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
With little happening in the 6th and 7th innings, Kike Hernandez started the Dodger 8th with a single to right. Ellis put down a perfect sacrifice bunt along the first base line, sending Hernandez to second. Justin Turner entered the game as a pinch hitter in the pitcher’s spot and swung at the first pitch. He missed, but the ball hit off the glove of Hundley and ricocheted to the backstop, allowing Hernandez to advance to third. It wouldn’t matter because Turner then took a Scott Oberg 78 mph breaking ball and launched it to the visiting bullpen behind the center field wall, putting the Dodgers back in front 7-5.
The Rockies brought in Boone Logan, their fifth pitcher of the afternoon, to replace Oberg. His first order of business was to walk Pederson before giving up a single to Rollins. Pederson advanced to third then scored when Kendrick singled to right making the score 8-5. Kendrick’s hit sent Rollins to third. Gonzalez then flied out to shallow center, where short stop Tulowitzki made a great over the shoulder catch, but had no chance of throwing out Rollins who tagged and scored easily pushing the lead to 9-5.
Call to the Pen
The Dodgers bullpen did another spectacular job, completing the final 3.1 innings of the game between Pedro Baez, Adam Liberatore, and Yimi Garcia. Between the three of them they gave up 1 hit, no runs, no walks, and had 3 strikeouts. With Kenley Jansen’s return right around the corner, this season’s bullpen, already one of the best in baseball, looks to grow even stronger.
The Dodgers leave the cold environs of Denver tonight and will return to the warm and friendly confines of Dodger Stadium tomorrow when they’ll host the Miami Marlins as Zack Greinke takes on Tom Koehler.