After cruising early, Clayton Kershaw went south in a hurry in the middle innings, as the St. Louis Cardinals rode a six-run sixth inning to an 8-2 win over the Dodgers on Tuesday night, snapping their five-game winning streak.
Kershaw allowed just one hit in the first four innings, needing only 51 pitches to that point. But that 2-0 lead evaporated quickly.
Three straight hits with two outs tied the game in the fifth, highlighted by a double to the left center field gap by pitcher Adam Wainwright. The sixth inning brought even more trouble for Kershaw, who walked Matt Holliday, allowed a double to Carlos Beltran, and a single to David Freese for a 3-2 Cardinals lead and runners on first and third with nobody out.
But Kershaw rebounded with a strikeout and a pop out, and was close to getting out of the inning without any further damage. But with number eight hitter Daniel Descalso, a left-hander 2-for-2 on the night but hitting .236/.320/.337 on the season, due up, manager Don Mattingly elected to issue an intentional walk to load the bases with Wainwright on deck.
As distasteful as it is to not go after a light hitter like Descalso, the walk is at least a defensible move, electing to have Kershaw face a pitcher. But the move completely backfired as Kershaw walked Wainwright on five pitches for a 4-2 Cardinals lead.
Mattingly came to the mound but rather than remove the tiring Kershaw he let the southpaw stay in, and former teammate Rafael Furcal greeted him with an infield single behind second base to score two more runs. That ended Kershaw's night, and when Allen Craig greeted reliever Josh Lindblom with a two-run double to right field to hang a snowman, eight runs, on Kershaw's ledger.
After using 51 pitches to record his first 12 outs of the game, Kershaw needed 54 pitches to record five outs in the fifth and sixth innings.
The eight runs allowed by Kershaw were the second most of his career, as he gave up nine runs at Coors Field on April 26, 2009.
Those two Dodgers runs came in the fourth inning, courtesy of three straight hits. Juan Rivera had the second of the three hits, a ground rule double in the right field corner that scored one but appeared to cost the Dodgers another run as James Loney seemed well on his way to scoring on the play. But Luis Cruz followed with a single to left field to ensure that second run.
The base hit gave Cruz a run batted in for the fifth straight game, tying Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier for the longest streak by a Dodger this season.
Those two runs were the only tallies against Adam Wainwright, who pitched into the eighth inning for his eighth win of the season, with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Berkman Hurt Again
Lance Berkman, who hurt his right knee while fielding a ball at Dodger Stadium on May 19 and subsequently missed 47 games, might not want to have anything to do with Kershaw anymore. Kershaw, who shutout the Cardinals in that May 19 game, hit Berkman in the same right knee in the third inning on Tuesday.
Berkman immediately collapsed to the ground upon getting hit, but stayed in the game for the moment. He went to first base, then advanced to second on a single by Descalso. But after hobbling down to second base Berkman was removed in favor of pinch runner Matt Carpenter, who remained at first base.
Aaron Harang gets the call on the mound for the Dodgers on Wednesday night in the third game of the series, facing Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals, who will look to win his fifth straight decision.
Home Runs: none
WP - Adam Wainwright (8-10): 7 1/3 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP - Clayton Kershaw (7-6): 5 2/3 IP, 7 hits, 8 runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts