Dodgers 1 3 1
Brewers 7 12 1
WP- Axford (1-1)
LP- Kershaw (2-2)
HR- Aoki (1)
The Dodgers lost to the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday afternoon, and they are now 11-8-4 in Cactus League play. The game was scoreless until the top of the third inning when Norichika Aoki hit a two-out full-count Kershaw pitch out for a homerun. This was the Japanese native’s first homerun in the States. I guess he will always remember hitting his first homerun in the United States against Clayton Kershaw of all pitchers. Kershaw cited an inconsistency in his slider as one of the reasons the left-handed hitter was able to hit one out against him. The Brewers signed Aoki to a two-year deal. He was a batting champion in Japan. It just makes the obvious absence of international talent within the Dodgers’ system even more glaring when we see the potential of players like Aoki.
Shaun Marcum pitched three good innings for Milwaukee. He only allowed one hit, no runs, one walk, and struck out three.
In the fourth inning, Adam Kennedy draws a two-out walk, and with Trent Oeltjen batting steals second base sliding in head first. Kennedy has to be taken out of the game with a right groin strain after hurting himself on the base path. What are these rusty old guys doing stealing bases during Spring Training? Later we got a report from head athletic trainer Sue Falsone that Kennedy was pulled out of the game as a precautionary measure, and the injury doesn’t seem serious. He is day to day.
In the fifth inning, the Dodgers tied up the game 1-1 when John Axford, Milwaukee’s mustached closer first walked A. J. Ellis and Kershaw back-to-back, then he allowed a single to Jerry Hairston Jr. to load the bases (Hairston also singled in the third inning). Tony Gwynn‘s sac fly scored Ellis, but Kershaw makes the second out at third base. Loney’s fly ball ends the inning. That would be the only scorin’ of the day for the Dodgers.
The bottom half of the fifth inning brings some more runs in for Milwaukee. Rafael Neda singles and reaches second on a sac bunt by Aoki. Neda scores on a two-out double by Rickie Weeks making it 2-1 in favor of the Brewers.
Both teams go down in order in the sixth inning. Clayton Kershaw pitched 6 strong innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts. This was his longest outing of the Spring thus far, and his ERA is at 1.47.
The bullpen proceeds to serve up some more runs in the later innings. Scott Rice comes in to relieve Kersh in the seventh inning. Logan Schafer promptly singles, and then Rice walks Erick Almonte. He gets Martin Maldonado to strike out and Brooks Conrad to fly out. Rice can’t handle a bunt from Matt Cline who singles, and it allows Schafer to score. Then our old friend Jay Gibbons comes up to bat, and FedEx attempts to pickoff Almonte but commits a throwing error instead allowing him to go to third. Gibbons then doubles in the two runners. Of course he does. Josh Lindblom comes in to replace Rice, and he gets Nick Shaw to pop out to end the inning.
In the eighth inning there is a Cory Sullivan single but little else as Josh Fields and Jerry Sands strike out to end the inning. Wow, how disappointing has Jerry Sands been this Spring? There’s no way in my mind he’s making the team after this weak Spring. He’s hitting .147 with only 5 hits in 34 at bats. Lindblom doesn’t impress in this game either. In the bottom of the eighth, he allows a single to Corey Patterson, a double to Schafer, and a two-run single to Maldonado.
The Dodgers go meekly in the ninth, and unfortunately Kershaw picks up the loss even though Rice and Lindblom served up five of the seven runs.
Tomorrow the Dodgers will take on the White Sox again at 1:05 pm at Camelback Ranch, and the game will be broadcast on Prime Ticket. Chad Billingsley goes to the mound with Javy Guerra, Jamey Wright, and Scott Elbert in the wings. It will be an important game for Wright since he’s trying to make the team as a non-roster player.