Stumbling to the end of their seven-game road trip, the Los Angeles Dodgers handed the ball to Clayton Kershaw in the finale of their series with the San Francisco Giants. Los Angeles was on a three-game losing streak, while San Francisco had won a season-high five in a row.
Kershaw stopped the Giants in their tracks, scattering three hits over seven shutout innings. Of the trio of singles allowed, only one was a well-struck ball. Kershaw lost his bid for a perfect game on a Justin Ruggiano one-out flare single in the fourth inning.
While Kershaw’s performance was noteworthy, particularly a slider that appeared to be more in line with his career’s work than what had been seen this season, his demeanor during a dustup was also a talking point.
Both benches cleared in the third inning, when Johnny Cueto and Yasmani Grandal exchanged words. Punches were not thrown, nor was there any shoving. As the teams inched closer to meeting in the middle of the diamond, Kershaw walked through the middle of the fracas to take the mound.
It was not meant as an act to defuse the tension. He simply wanted to carry on with the game, via SportsNet LA:
“It was just a lot of talk. I was just going to keep on playing, if it was the same to everybody else.”
Following the game, Cueto accused the Dodgers of stealing signs. The team denied doing as much, and Grandal said he resolved the dispute with Cueto.
Kershaw improved to a lifetime 20-9 with a 1.62 ERA against the Giants, including a 12-4 record with a 1.29 ERA at AT&T Park. San Francisco is the second club the 29-year-old has notched 20 career wins against.
In his start prior to Wednesday, Kershaw became a 20-game winner over the Colorado Rockies. That broke a tie with Randy Johnson for most pitcher wins in MLB history against the expansion franchise.
Overall this season, Kershaw is 7-2 with a 2.15 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in nine starts. He’s the first National League pitcher to reach seven wins.