The Dodgers didn't swing and miss once all night against Lucas Harrell. The problem though was they didn't do much of anything when they made contact off the Houston Astros' starting pitcher, who pitched the Astros to a 3-1 win over the Dodgers Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
Harrell allowed five singles and three walks in his 7 1/3 innings, and induced 16 groundouts on the night. The only run Harrell allowed was one he bequeathed to his relievers, leaving with one out and one on in the bottom of the eighth.
A walk, a single, and a walk to the first three batters post-Harrell gave the Dodgers a run, and a bases loaded situation with one out, down two runs. When left-hander Fernando Abad was summoned from the bullpen to face James Loney. But Don Mattingly countered with a right-handed pinch hitter to face Abad, but he didn't use Scott Van Slyke or Jerry Sands. Mattingly tabbed Ivan De Jesus, who delivered the two-run game-winning double on Tuesday in Arizona.
De Jesus didn't have a similar result on Friday, as he struck out. A.J. Ellis followed by flying out o center and the rally was dead. The Dodgers had two hits and two walks in the eighth inning, but the Astros used five pitchers to get three outs, allowing just one run.
Clayton Kershaw was greeted by Jose Altuve with a leadoff double in the first inning, then one out later J.D. Martinez reached base on catcher's interference, the first such call on the Dodgers since Russell Martin was called for CI on May 29, 2008 against then-Met Claudio Vargas. Carlos Lee followed with what appeared to be an inning-ending double play, but Elian Herrera threw wild toward the Astros dugout and just like that Kershaw's scoreless streak was done at 22 innings.
In the third inning, Jed Lowrie hit one off the Hyundai sign in left center field for a double, narrowly missing a home run. Martinez followed with a ball to left that didn't miss being a home run, giving the Astros a 3-0 lead. Lee followed with another hit that was nearly a home run, but Bobby Abreu made a leaping catch at the wall in left field.
Kershaw allowed four doubles for the third time in his career, and the first time since April 24, 2010 against the Washington Nationals. With the home run by Martinez, Kershaw allowed five extra-base hits for the second time in his career, with the other game also that game two years ago against Washington.
Harrell came into the game with the fourth lowest strikeout rate in the National League (12.5% of his plate appearances), and that number went down Friday night. Harrell didn't strikeout a single batter, becoming the first starter to beat the Dodgers without a strikeout since Kyle Kendrick of the Philadelphia Phillies did it on August 31, 2010. Kendrick, it should be noted, beat the Dodgers twice without a strikeout, joining Vern Law as the only pitchers to turn the trick twice against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- The loss snapped a nine-game winning streak by the Dodgers against right-handed starting pitchers.
- Jerry Hairston Jr. played first base in the eighth inning, just his second career game at the position. Hairston played 6 1/3 innings at first base for the Chicago Cubs on May 20, 2006.
- Bobby Abreu had three walks and a single on the night, and is hitting .327/.435/.462 in 19 games as a Dodger.
- Elian Herrera went 2-for-4 with a run scored on Friday, and has at least one hit in all seven games he has started this season.
- Dee Gordon went 1-for-4 Friday, and is 4-for-12 in three games since returning from his benching.
- Christopher Jackson of the Albuquerque Examiner caught up with Dodgers prospect Alex Castellanos, who has returned to the Isotopes but hasn't yet been cleared to play with his left hamstring injury.
- There has still never been a Dodgers team start their season 20-4 at home.
Home Runs: J.D. Martinez (4)
WP - Lucas Harrell (4-3): 7 1/3 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 0 strikeouts
LP - Clayton Kershaw (4-2): 7 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Brett Myers (12): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts