Mired in a three-game losing streak, the Los Angeles Dodgers figured to be in good hands Wednesday night with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. He failed to retire the first three batters faced, then proceeded to largely overmatch the Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies loaded the bases in the first inning on a walk and pair of singles, which may have been a byproduct of Tyler Anderson delaying first pitch because of plodding pace in walking from the bullpen to the dugout. Kershaw stepped off the mound and was visibly agitated.
After Carlos Gonzalez struck out, Mark Reynolds’ sacrifice fly gave the Rockies an early lead. Kershaw managed to minimize the damage by then striking out Gerardo Parra, though he needed 27 pitches to get through the inning.
The second and third innings were smoother for Kershaw, as he retired the side in order each time. Scott Van Slyke, who’s been off to a slow start this season, hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the second.
Gonzalez was hit by a pitch on his right pinky, though it was ruled a check-swing foul ball. Gonzalez was removed from the game after being checked on by a trainer. The Rockies proceeded to go down in order in the fourth. Kershaw at that point had retired 12 in a row, recorded five strikeouts and was at a manageable 58 pitches.
Adrian Gonzalez singled and Yasmani Grandal drew a walk to give the Dodgers two on with one out. But Anderson got out of the fifth inning unscathed by striking out Van Slyke and Brett Eibner. Trevor Story led off the fifth with a double, only to be stranded when Kershaw retired the next three batters faced.
Chris Taylor’s double and Kershaw’s sacrifice bunt that led to an Anderson throwing error put runners on the corners with nobody out in the bottom half of the inning. Kiké Hernandez followed with an RBI double, and Seager an RBI single, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.
With the hit, Seager joined a select group of National League players with a minimum of 200 hits, 100 runs scored, 100 RBI, 50 doubles and 30 home runs within the first 200 career games.
The Rockies failed to turn a double play on Gonzalez’s slow grounder to shortstop, and the Dodgers led 4-1 at the end of five innings. Colorado managed to get a run back in the sixth, capitalizing on DJ LeMahieu’s leadoff double.
Kershaw struck out the side in the seventh, which was his final inning of work. The left-hander finished the night with two runs allowed on five hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts. It was Kershaw’s 52nd career game with double-digit strikeouts, which is most in the Majors since his debut in 2008.
Luis Avilan allowed a leadoff single in the eighth and was promptly replaced by Sergio Romo. He retired two of three batters faced before giving way to Kenley Jansen, who inherited runners at the corners.
Jansen recorded a second four-out save in as many chances this season, and the Dodgers snapped their skid with a 4-2 victory. Kershaw improved to 10-0 with a 0.65 ERA in his past 11 regular-season starts at Dodger Stadium. What’s more, by remaining unbeaten in those 11 home outings, he matched a franchise record.
The Dodgers picked up their third win against a left-handed starter in nine games this season.