Three batters into the game, Matt Kemp hit a three-run home run to give Clayton Kershaw all the run support he would need. But the Dodgers weren't done scoring, pounding the Cardinals 13-2 Tuesday night in the second game of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.
Rod Barajas hit three fair balls over the fence tonight, and only one of them bounced first. The two-homer game by Barajas was the 68th by a Dodgers catcher since 1919, and first since Russell Martin on August 15, 2007.
It is the first series win in St. Louis for the Dodgers since 2003, and evened the all-time series with the Cardinals at 1,001 wins apiece.
Kershaw battled the sweltering heat and humidity to pitch six innings, needing 108 pitches and two jerseys to do so. He struck out eight, giving him a National League leading 207 on the season. Matt Holliday fanning in the first inning was Kershaw's 200th strikeout of the season, giving Kershaw back-to-back seasons with 200 punchouts.
Kershaw did not allow a run tonight, his ninth start this season without allowing a run. That ties him with Cliff Lee for most scoreless starts in the majors this year. Kershaw has a string of 14 consecutive scoreless innings, and lowered his ERA on the season to 2.51, third in the National League behind Johnny Cueto (1.89) and Ryan Vogelson (2.47). Kershaw is tied with Ian Kennedy for the league lead with 16 wins, and is tied with Roy Halladay for the league lead with 189 2/3 inning pitched.
Eugenio Velez entered the game as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning, and struck out in his only at-bat. Velez is now 0-for-26, the worst start to a Dodger career by a position player, at least since 1919. Whenever Dee Gordon is ready, which seems like it will be at some point this weekend, it's time for Velez to go the way of Dioner Navarro.
Despite the Dodgers holding a double-digit lead, the ninth inning was eventful. Infielder Skip Schumaker pitched for St. Louis, actually hitting 93 on the gun once. Schumaker struck out Trent Oeltjen which excited players in both dugouts as well as the stands, but then walked Andre Ethier and gave up a bomb of a home run to noted heater hunter Aaron Miles.
Then, in the bottom of the inning, Blake Hawksworth began his third inning of work, which would have earned him a save thanks to to MLB Rule 10.19(d)(3). However, Hawksworth allowed a run and left with two runners on base with one out. It would have been the first save of three innings or more by a Dodger since Ramon Troncoso pitched four innings at Coors Field to get a save on April 25, 2009.
Hiroki Kuroda goes for the sweep on Wednesday afternoon, facing Jaime Garcia for St. Louis.
WP - Clayton Kershaw (16-5): 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
LP - Kyle Lohse (11-8): 3 IP, 8 hits, 8 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts