Monday night figured to be a notch in the Dodger win column, with ace Clayton Kershaw facing a pitcher in James Russell who averaged just over three innings per start. The Dodgers had to wait a little bit -- no runs come easy to this offense -- but in the end they got that win, 5-2 over the Cubs in the opener of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium. Among tonight's highlights:
- Kershaw gave up some hits early, and didn't strikeout a single batter until the fourth inning, but his pitch count also wasn't inflated early and he was able to pitch seven easy innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, without walking a batter.
- Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to a half-DiMaggio, 28 games, with an infield single in the fifth inning.
- Ivan DeJesus Jr. picked up his first major league RBI with a single to right field in the second inning.
- Jerry Sands came very close, again, to hitting his first major league home run, in the third inning, but Marlon Byrd made a nice running catch at the wall in center field, much to the chagrin of Sands' parents in the stands. But the coolest part was seeing Sands' grandfather clapping wearing his 60+ year old Duke Snider model glove.
- Sands did pick up an extra-base hit later, a two-run double in the fifth inning that widened the Dodgers' lead.
- Jazz Hands Juan Uribe picked up two hits, including an RBI double in the second inning. Uribe also made roughly 83 good plays at third base tonight (rough estimate).
- Sometimes all the bullpen needs to get back on track is a good start and a big lead. Kershaw pitched a strong seven tonight, the Dodgers led by three runs, and Vicente Padilla and Jonathan Broxton retired all six men they faced to end the game. It was Broxton's first 1-2-3 save since April 1.
- Every once in a while, real baseball resembles the greatest sports movie of all-time, Major League. In this case, I present to you Loney's Fly Ball Jar, in which James Loney must pay $1 for every fly ball he hits to left field.
- Alfonso Soriano hit his major league leading 11th home run tonight, and on the season has a slugging percentage of .634 to go with his on-base percentage of .286.
- The Dodgers have scored 32 runs in four games against the Cubs this season, and 3.23 runs per game against everybody else.
- The Cubs' run in the first inning was the first run given up in the opening frame at home this season by the Dodgers
Chad Billingsley and Ryan Dempster face off Tuesday night in the second game of the series.
WP - Clayton Kershaw (3-3): 7 IP, 8 hits, 2 runs, 4 strikeouts
LP - James Russell (1-4): 4 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 3 strikeouts
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (7): 1 IP, 1 strikeout