Dodgers offense picks up late and leads them to a victory over the Braves.
The Dodgers would score their first run in the bottom of the third inning. Clayton Kershaw reached on an infield single, Corey Seager walked and Justin Turner singled to center to drive Kershaw in. Bud Norris did really good for a guy with a 1-6 record coming into tonight. He pitched five innings, allowed three hits, walked four and struck out two. Norris is not an ace by any means, but he knew how to handle a struggling Dodgers offense.
Kershaw was great, but not the dominating Kershaw we are all used to seeing. He got deep in a lot of counts tonight and batters were doing what they never do against him, fouling balls off. Kershaw tonight went six innings tonight, allowed three hits, gave up a walk and struck out four. For the first time in 12 starts this year, Kershaw was not on the mound for the seventh inning. Kershaw’s four stikeouts tonight were his lowest in a start since May 7, 2015 when he pitched against the Arizona Diamondbacks and only went 1.2 innings. In the top of the second inning, Kershaw also balked which allowed Jeff Francoeur to reach second base. A walk, only four K’s and a balk, Kershaw was clearly not out there with his best stuff. You know you are one of baseball’s best when allowing only three hits and no runs is considered “not your best stuff”. Tonight’s scoreless six innings from Kershaw did lower his ERA to 1.46.
The Dodgers would score again in the bottom of the eighth inning when Turner led off with a double to right. Adrian Gonzalez would ground out, but that would allow Turner to advance to third. Then Trayce Thompson would work a nine pitch at bat into a walk. Right after that Joc Pederson reached first on a beautiful drag bunt single and Turner scored. Dave Roberts called for a double steal. Thompson had three steals on the evening. The Braves then decided to intentionally walk Howie Kendrick to have the bases loaded and one out for A.J Ellis. Ellis would hit a deep sacrifice fly to score Thompson. They would score one more in the inning when Yasmani Grandal hit a pinch hit single into left to score Pederson. Dodgers now lead by a score of 4-0.
Kenley Jansen was called in to pitch the ninth inning since he has had a few days off. He walked the lead off runner in Freddie Freeman and then Freeman got to take second on a super bizarre play. Jansen seemed upset that he allowed a walk so he threw the ball away, but the ball was still in play. Jansen was given an error for basically throwing the ball into the Dodgers dugout. In all the games I have seen in my life, I have never seen that happen before.
Offense was quiet but came alive for a beautiful inning in the eighth inning. Other than that everything else seemed “routine” for the boys in blue. The Dodgers had seven walks on the night, but did not allow any of those runners to score. Thompson shined with his three steals, Kershaw singled, would score the first run and keep the Braves scoreless. Turner stepped out of his slump for a little to have a walk, single and double on the night. It may have been interesting at times, but the Dodgers got the job done.
Best news of the night: the Giants lost today, which means the Dodgers actually get to gain a game in the division! They are still in second place and trail the Giants by four games after picking up tonight’s victory.
The Dodgers will be facing the Braves in the series finale tomorrow afternoon and first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM.