Clayton Kershaw was magnificent, guiding the Dodgers to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium in the opener of a three game series. Kershaw struck out a season-high 11 in his seven scoreless innings, and beat Arizona for the fourth straight time. Kershaw retired the final 14 batters he faced.
Since I already referenced one Bob Dylan song today, with the return of Juan Castro, I might as well bring up another. When Clayton Kershaw is pitching, I can think of no better Dylan lyric that I listened to this evening that refers to Kershaw's pitching as this, from To Ramona:
Your magnetic movements still capture the minutes I'm in.
Arizona threatened with a pair of doubles in the first inning. On the second double, a pop fly down the right field line by Melvin Mora, both Aaron Miles and James Loney collided, allowing the ball to drop. However, Chris Young, who was on second base, had to hold until he was sure the ball would fall safely, so he didn't score. Mora became just the seventh batter this season to hit a double with a runner on second base and not collect an RBI, and conversely Young became the seventh such runner not to score from second on a double. Kershaw retired the next three batters, with two strikeouts and a pop out, squashing the threat.
Rod Barajas homered in the fifth inning for the first Dodger run, and they rallied for three more runs in the next two innings, thanks to a combination of Matt Kemp's bat and Stephen Drew's throwing arm.
The Dodgers bullpen made it interesting, as Matt Guerrier gave up one run, and Vicente Padilla gave up two runs, but Kenley Jansen was called in to get the final out as the Dodgers held on for their third straight win. Padilla threw 32 pitches in the ninth inning, so you have to figure he is unavailable for at least Saturday.
15 Diamondbacks struck out tonight.
Chad Billingsley pitches Saturday against Josh Collmenter on True Blue LA night Saturday, in game two of the series.
WP - Clayton Kershaw (5-3): 7 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
LP - Joe Saunders (0-5): 6 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 4 walks, 2 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (1): 1/3 I, 1 strikeout