Clayton Kershaw ... win number 5
Twenty-two year old Clayton Kershaw, at about the same age as a college graduate who, with diploma in hand is wondering what his future holds, struck out nine Colorado Rockies in five innings as the Dodgers earned a 4-3 victory, their 19th in the Month of May. James Loney knocked in two of the four runs.
The only thing that slowed the pitcher was Kershaw himself. While improving to 5-3, he allowed four hits and two runs. He also walked four, had a wild pitch and hit the first batter he faced. But in-between he was overpowering, striking out the side in the first two innings and matching his season high for strikeouts for the third time.
“When Kershaw pitches, he’s going to have a number of strikeouts,” said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. "He makes it hard just to put balls in play against him, and then their bullpen is one of the best in the game.”
“It was a rough first inning,” Kershaw said. “Sometimes I have a hard time getting going. Luckily after the first, I was able to get the ball down in the zone and make some pitches. Give the credit the bullpen, they really picked me up. I can’t say enough about them.”
Ramon Troncoso, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ronald Belisario and Jonathan Broxton combined over the final four innings to allow a single hit and one unearned run.
On the day, Colorado struck out 13 times and scored three earned runs.
Loney rapped an RBI double in the first inning to drive in Matt Kemp, who had doubled. Colorado scored twice in the bottom of the inning after Kershaw hit leadoff man Carlos Gonzalez and bounced a wild pitch. Ryan Spillborghs struck out, Jason Giambi walked and Tulowitzki tied the score with a single. Brad Hawpe struck out, Cris Iannetta popped u but second baseman Blake DeWitt lost it in the sun and it dropped for a single and a 2-1 lead before Ian Stewart struck out.
Kershaw singled in the third, Rafael Furcal beat out a bunt and Russ Martin was hit by a pitch to open the third but the Dodgers could manage only one run, driven in by Loney with a sacrifice fly.
Two more Dodgers run scored in the sixth. Casey Blake doubled, Xavier Paul dropped a single into right field to score him and after stole second. He scored later after Reed Johnson's single and DeWitt's fielder's choice to make it 4-2.
An error by Blake allowed the third Colorado run in the ninth but Broxton pitched around it to earn his 13th save in 15 chances.
The Dodgers’ collected their 10th win in their last 12 games against NL West opponents to improve their best N.L. West record at 15-5. They have gone 21-7 in their last 28 games against the Rockies, including winning four of the six this season.
Dodger Blue Notes --Los Angeles showed little patience with Scott Elbert who gave up a hit, walked three and allowed Colorado run in 2/3 of an inning in his first appearance on Saturday. He was quickly shipped back to Albuquerque and RHP Travis Schlichting was recalled.
Schlichting, 25, began his career in 2003 as an infielder but was switched to the mound by the Angels after suffering an injury that sidelined him for two months in 2006. Released in the spring of 2007, he pitching in independent ball and was signed by the Dodgers after the season.
He was 6-4, 3.71 for the Jacksonville Suns, striking out 49 in 52.2 innings in 2008 and pitched at Albuquerque before making a brief appearance with the Dodgers in June, recording a 3.38 earned run average.
Schlichting was 2-2, 4.02 for the Isotopes this year, working 31.1 innings over 16 games and allowing 33 hits while striking out 19.
Dodger Blue Notes --Manny Ramirez was given the day off on his 38th birthday. In the final year of his contract, Ramirez is hitting .289 with three home runs and 24 runs batted in over 32 games. ...San Diego and San Francisco won on Sunday and the Dodgers remain two games behind the Padres and a half game in front of the Giants. ...The Dodgers return to Los Angeles to begin a season-high 14-game homestand at Dodger Stadium, featuring games against the Diamondbacks, Braves, Cardinals and Angels. Outfielder Andre Ethier is expected to be activated from the disabled list sometime today. ...With his 13th save, Jonathan Broxton has moved his career total to 68 and into seventh place on the all-time Los Angeles chart, trailing Takashi Saito in sixth place who has 81. Broxton gave up his first run on the road in 10.2 innings but it was unearned. The Georgia native has fanned 33 batters over 22.1 innings, which is good for an average of 13.3 per nine innings, sixth best in the NL. ...Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis and his wife Cindy who had a baby boy, Luke Joshua, on Saturday morning. Little Luke joins their daughter Ainsley in the Ellis family. ...Probable pitchers for the series against Arizona in Dodger Stadium will be RHP Rodrigo Lopez (2-3, 4.57) vs. RHP Chad Billingsley (6-2, 3.63) tonight; RHP Dan Haren (5-4, 5.35) vs. rookie Carlos Monasterios on Wednesday and RHP Edwin Jackson (3-6. 6.03) vs. RHP John Ely (3-2, 3.00) in the final game on Thursday.