Clayton Kershaw faced early trouble and the Los Angeles Dodgers were a bit lethargic at the start, but they erupted in the fourth inning and stormed to a 16-2 thrashing of the Philadelphia Phillies in the series opener at Citizens Bank Park.
Zach Eflin retired the first eight batters faced and nine of the first 10 as he held the Dodgers without a hit through three innings. Alex Verdugo’s leadoff single in the fourth gave the Dodgers their first hit and led to them tying the game as Justin Turner followed with an RBI double.
With one out and Turner on third base, Maikel Franco failed to make a barehanded play on Max Muncy’s roller to third base, allowing Turner to score on the infield single. Kike Hernandez’s RBI base hit extended the Dodgers’ lead, and Austin Barnes’ bunt on a safety squeeze added to it.
Joc Pederson continued the scoring with an RBI infield single off Eflin, and the Dodgers completed the six-run inning by successfully pulling off a double steal. Cody Bellinger’s home run in the fifth inning gave him 32 on the season to tie with Christian Yelich for the MLB lead.
Bellinger then moved ahead of Yelich with a second solo shot in the seventh. It gave him 11 career multi-home run games, including four this season. Max Muncy made it back-to-back homers by also taking Edubray Ramos over the wall in center field.
With the Dodgers cruising to a comfortable win, Verdugo broke the game wide open for good measure with a three-run home run in the eighth inning.
Kershaw began what was his first start of the second half in dominant fashion, striking out the Scott Kingery and Jean Segura. However, Bryce Harper kept the first inning alive with a base hit, and Kershaw compounded that by issuing back-to-back walks.
Jay Bruce bailed him out by flying to right field on the first pitch he saw. Kingery got a bit of revenge by leading off the third inning with a home run that gave the Phillies what wound up being a short-lived lead.
Later in the third, Harper’s double, catcher’s interference and a fielding error allowed Philadelphia to load the bases with one out. Kershaw escaped the jam by striking out Bruce and getting Franco to ground out.
Kershaw was aided by Franco not running hard out of the box, which if he had may have resulted in a safe call at first base. Turner’s throw was a bit high and wide, requiring Muncy to leap and step back to his left.
That was the last bit of trouble Kershaw faced. He got through six innings with seven strikeouts and just the run allowed. Kershaw has logged at least six innings in each of his 16 starts this season.