What could Clayton Kershaw do for an encore after pitching what many consider one of the most dominating pitching performances in Baseball history? No, unfortunately we would not see him tie Johnny Vander Meer’s record for consecutive no-hitters thrown. Just eight shutout innings and a 2-0 win, that’s all. For Kershaw it was just another day at the office as he shut down another club’s offense. Kershaw extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 21 innings after he shutdown the Royals over eight dominant frames. Kershaw allowed just six this and one walk, while whiffing eight en route to his eighth win of the season. Kershaw now has a 2.21 ERA which now ranks him third in the National League.Dodgers 2 6 0 Royals 0 6 0 WP-Kershaw-8-2 LP-Duffy-4-7 SV-Jansen-23
The Royals were thoroughly frustrated all night long, getting just six piddly singles as Kershaw made 108 pitches in the 2-0 win. Good thing for the Dodgers. Kershaw had to be on his A-game since Don Mattingly decided to put out a minor league caliber lineup. Yasiel Puig was the DH, and Jamie Romak (Now batting .048) was in right field. Carlos Triunfel was at shortstop again for the ailing (shoulder again) Hanley Ramirez. And Miguel Rojas was at second as Dee Gordon was given a night off against a lefty.
The Dodger offense was only able to muster up two runs. Normally that’s not enough on most nights against a major league club. But the Dodgers had Kershaw on the mound. It was more than enough for him.
The Dodgers were able to plate one run in the top of the first. Justin Turner tripled, and after a Puig infield single, Turner came home to score on an Adrian Gonzalez RBI fielder’s choice that bounced off of Danny Duffy’s mitt. The Dodgers added one more in the top of the ninth. Gonzo walked, A.J. singled up the middle. Then Andre Ethier’s pinch-hit dribbling RBI single scored Gonzo. That was it. That was all they needed with Kersh.
Kershaw’s mound opponent left hander Danny Duffy was solid, but he’s no Clayton Kershaw. Duffy threw six frames, allowing on earned run on four hits. However he did issue four walks, to go along with his five whiffs. Kersh also got a little bit of help form Rojas, like this….
Kenley Jansen pitched a 123 ninth inning to earn his 23rd save of the season. The Dodgers win 2-0 and even the series. Here’s how this one played out….
The Dodgers break out to an early lead in the top of the first. Justin Turner batting lead-off, has an 11-pitch battle versus Duffy before tripling into the right center field gap. Lorenzo Cain dives for it, but can’t get it. After Turner’s triple, Matt Kemp bounces out to short. Turner has to stay at third. Kansas City has a meeting on the mound to decide how to pitch to Yasiel Puig, or if they should at all. The reasoning is that Duffy has limited left handed hitters to an .079 average against. The Royals pitch to Puig, and he beats out an infield roller to third. The Royals challenge the play, and they lose. The New York office upholds the original safe call.
With first and third, Adrian Gonzalez hits a line drive that goes off Duffy’s glove and deflects to shortstop Escobar. He feeds to second for the force out on Puig, but Turner finally scores to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Scott Van Slyke’s broken bat roller to first ends the frame.
Kershaw needs just nine pitches to take care of the Royals in the bottom of the first. Lorenzo Cain whiffs. Eric Hosmer singles through the hole at short, past a diving Triunfel. Designated hitter Billy Butler grounds into an inning ending double play.
Duffy has a clean top of the second inning. A.J. Ellis gets a single, but Duffy induces a Jamie Romak line out, Whiffs Triunfel, and Miguel Rojas grounds into a force. Kershaw throws a 123 bottom of the second inning, with a whiff of Alex Gordon. There’s a lead-off walk to Turner in the top of the third. But he’s instantly erased on Kemp’s double play. In the bottom of the third, Kershaw quickly gets three consecutive ground outs. The score is 1-0 Dodgers after three frames.
In the top of the fourth the Dodgers get a single from Gonzalez. But he’s quickly erased at second on a busted hit and run play. A.J. walked, but Van Slyke, and Romak both whiff.
The Royals threaten somewhat in the bottom of the fourth, but Kershaw is able to escape without allowing anything to cross the plate. There’s a whiff to Cain for the first out. Hosmer singles up the middle. Then Kersh whiffs Butler. With two outs, Hosmer advances to second on a wild pitch. Then Alex Gordon is walked. Turner makes a great play on Perez’s high chopper to third to throw him out.
The Dodgers threaten again in the top of the fifth, but as usual can’t score. Rojas walked with one out. After Turner was called out on strikes, Duffy wild pitches Rojas to second. Kemp walks. But Puig grounds out to third.
Kershaw throws another scoreless frame in the bottom of the fifth. Valencia singles, but Kershaw whiffs Maxwell and Escobar. 1-0 Dodgers after five.
After the Dodgers go down 123 again in the top of the sixth, Kershaw mows down the Royals in the bottom of the sixth. Butler gets the Royal’s fourth hit of the game, but Kershaw whiffs Alex Gordon to end the inning.
Kansas City threatens to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, but Kershaw and the Dodgers somehow wiggle their way out of it. Getting out of this inning was important since runs were at a premium tonight. With one out, Omar Infante singles to center. Then Danny Valencia’s ground ball single goes into left. Maxwell’s grounder should have been a double play, but Rojas couldn’t get the ball out of his glove. It becomes a force out, as Valencia is erased at second. But Infante goes to third, and the Royals have first and third with two outs. Escobar’s grounder almost gets by Rojas, but he makes a great play to throw out Escobar just in the nick of time. The Dodgers escape.
Kelvin Herrera a right hander comes in to relieve Duffy in the top of the eighth. Kemp flies to center. Turner grounds to first. Puig whiffs. In the bottom of the eighth, Kershaw whiffs Cain. Hosmer grounds to third, with Gonzo making a nice pick. Butler flies out. End of eight, Dodgers still up 1-0.
With Herrera still on the mound in the top of the ninth, the Dodgers put a rally together. Gonzo walks. After Van Slyke whiffs A.J.’s ground ball single goes up the middle. Gonzo goes to second. Since Romak was hitting .048, the Dodgers pinch-hit and Andre Ethier comes off the bench. He dribbles a single into center, and Gonzo chugs all the way around from second to score. The Dodgers pick up a very important insurance run to lead 2-0. Right hander Michael Mariot is brought in and whiffs Dee Gordon and retires Rojas.
Move to the bottom of the ninth. Enter Kenley Jansen in search of his 23 save. He gets Alex Gordon to ground out for the first out. Perez whiffs. Infante whiffs swinging to end the game. Dodgers win!
The Dodgers now improve to 43-36. If the Giants lose against San Diego tonight, then the Dodgers will be just three games back of first place. Things are slowly getting better.