Clayton Kershaw lowered his ERA to 1.37 with tonight's performance.
Clayton Kershaw continued his mastery of the Giants, and Matt Kemp provided more excitement on the bases, leading the Dodgers to a 6-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The Dodgers have taken four of five games against the Giants to start the season.
Kershaw was a bit wild, but wild is a relative term these days for the Dodger ace. Gone is the four-walks-per-nine-inning left-hander. Kershaw walked two batters tonight, which happens to be his season high. However, he did get into some deep counts, throwing three balls to seven different hitters. Kershaw was removed with two outs in the seventh inning after throwing 117 pitches, but his results were outstanding.
Kershaw allowed six hits and two walks in his 6 2/3 innings, while striking out seven. More importantly, Kershaw didn't allow a run, again, for the third straight time against the Giants. Kershaw has a streak of 23 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings against San Francisco.
The first run of the night was delivered by the speed, albeit overly aggressive speed, by Kemp in the second inning. Kemp drew a walk from Madison Bumgarner, but then one batter later Kemp was promptly picked off first base. Only, just like on Saturday against the Padres, a poor throw and a nifty slide allowed Kemp to reach second base safely, good for his seventh stolen base of the season. When James Loney lined a ball off the glove of second baseman Freddy Sanchez, the ball squirted onto the grass just behind second base, but Kemp was already rounding third and scored easily on the play.
Kemp was the sixth of seven straight Dodger to reach base to start the top of the fifth inning, delivering an RBI single to left field that Pat Burrell played like a bullfighter, allowing another run to score as the ball rolled past Burrell toward the wall. Kemp was thrown out trying to advance to third on the miscue, the second Dodger to make an out on the bases in the inning.
Just like on opening day, Pat Burrell hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to prevent a Dodger shutout. This time, Burrell took Mike MacDougal deep, off the foul pole in left field to open the bottom of the final frame.
Rafael Furcal, who has been battling a left wrist injury in the last few days that has impaired his ability to swing the bat, injured his left thumb while sliding headfirst into third base in the fifth inning. He was removed in the top of the seventh inning in favor of pinch hitter Aaron Miles. Furcal's headfirst slide prompted this tweet during the game from David Young: "Why Lopes prefers the foot-first slide."
- Kemp has reached base in 13 of his last 19 plate appearances
- Kershaw was picked off by Bumgarner in the fifth inning, the second Dodger pitcher to be picked off in the last two days
- Rod Barajas took a commanding team lead with his second home run of the season tonight, in the fifth inning
- Jamey Carroll, who started in place of Casey Blake tonight, had three more hits to push his OBP to .452.
- Blake is day-to-day with a charley horse
Juan Uribe received his 2010 World Series ring from the Giants in a nice pregame ceremony, then was mobbed by his ex-teammates
Chad Billingsley faces off with Tim Lincecum Tuesday night in the second game of the series
WP - Clayton Kershaw (2-1): 6 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Madison Bumgarner (0-2): 5 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts