Clayton Kershaw pitched his longest outing of the season Friday night, and the Dodgers held on to beat the Nationals 3-2 at Dodger Stadium. Though the Dodgers once led 3-0, the game turned into a nailbiter with a few close calls at the end.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers tried to add an insurance run on a double by Juan Uribe, but in the view of home plate umpire Angel Hernandez Nationals catcher Jesus Flores successfully prevented a sliding Tony Gwynn Jr. from touching home plate.
Then in the top of the ninth, with Javy Guerra apparently unavailable, and Kenley Jansen allowed a long fly ball down the right field line that had home run distance but was just foul. Replays showed a fan touch the ball and it almost looked like had the fan not touched the ball it may have struck the foul pole.
But Jansen was able to escape without any damage for the save.
Matt Kemp hit a two-out single to left field in the first inning, and Andre Ethier followed with a two-run shot to right field that immediately tripled the earned run total allowed by Ross Detwiler on the season.
For Ethier, it was his fifth home run of the season and vaulted him into the major league RBI lead with 24, one more than Kemp. Yes, runs batted in are largely a function of opportunity (you have to have runners on base to drive in), but I thought these numbers were interesting:
Ethier, through 20 games in 2012: .299/.341/.597, five home runs, 24 RBI
Ethier, through 51 games in 2011: .317/.393/.454, five home runs, 23 RBI
Kershaw was able to work around three Dodgers errors in the first five innings, allowing only two hits and no runs while striking out five. But after issuing a leadoff walk to old friend Jayson Werth in the sixth inning, Adam LaRoche followed by depositing an 0-2 slider into the right field bullpen to cut the lead to 3-2.
Kershaw was able to last through eight innings for his second win of the season. The win was also his 12th straight home win, tying him with Ed Roebuck (June 1960 - August 1962) and Orel Hershiser (September 1984 - October 1985) for the longest home winning streak since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.
During his home win streak, which spans 16 starts, Kershaw is 12-0 with a 1.53 ERA.
- Matt Kemp went 2-for-4 and scored two runs, giving him 21 runs scored on the season. With 21 runs and 23 RBI so far, April 2012 is the fourth month of Kemp's career that he has had at least 20 runs and 20 RBI, along with August 2009, April 2010, and August 2011.
Dee Gordon went 0-for-4 and is now hitting .224/.268/.263 on the season.
Russ Mitchell, who was released by the Dodgers at the end of spring training, is now with Double A Jacksonville, in the Florida Marlins system, per Chris Jackson of the Albuquerque Examiner.
Home Runs: Andre Ethier (5); Adam LaRoche (3)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (2-0): 8 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP - Ross Detwiler (2-1): 6 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (1): 1 IP, 1 HBP, 1 strikeout