Clayton Kershaw pitched his deepest outing of the season and was able to withstand a home run by Jose Abreu. The Dodgers were able to ride a sixth inning rally started by Kershaw himself to dispatch the White Sox 5-2 in the opener of a three-game series on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw was hyper-efficient in each in retiring the first 10 batters of the game. He strick out one in each of the first three innings, needing only 21 pitches to get through three frames. But after Gordon Beckham broke up the perfect game with one out in the fourth, White Sox rookie sensation Jose Abreu smashed a line drive over the wall in left field for a 2-0 Chicago lead.
Jose Quintana for a while looked like he might not need any other support. The Dodgers were only able to muster two hits and a walk through five innings, giving Quintana 13 scoreless innings at Dodger Stadium to that point, including eight scoreless innings in a no-decision on June 17, 2012.
The sixth inning, however, was not scoreless.
Kershaw opened it with a single, Matt Kemp reached on an error by Beckham, then with two outs the Dodgers scratched across a run when Hanley Ramirez reached on an error by third baseman Conor Gillaspie. Quintana's inning that should have been over continued as the next four batters reached base, too: RBI singles by Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner and Drew Butera mixed around a walk by center fielder Scott Van Slyke gave the Dodgers a 5-2 lead.
If it's any consolation for Quintana, all five runs were unearned so his Dodger Stadium ERA is still 0.00.
By then, Kershaw was in cruise control. After the home run by Abreu, he retired 14 of 16 batters and ended eight innings at just 97 pitches. Kershaw struck out exactly nine for the fifth time in six starts, inclduing for the third time with no walks. Kershaw on the season has 55 strikeouts and just seven walks.
Kenley Jansen allowed an infield single to open the ninth, but then struck out three in a row, including Abreu. Jansen in his last seven outings has 12 strikeouts against only one walk.
Since Kershaw was activated from the disabled list on May 6, Dodgers starting pitchers are averaging 6.23 innings per start. The team averaged 5.74 innings before then.
Yasiel Puig was 0-for-4, snapping his streak of reaching base by hit, walk or hit by pitch at 33 games.
Chris Withrow will have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida.
Dan Haren starts the middle game of the series on Tuesday night, while the White Sox counter with Hector Noesi.
Home run: Jose Abreu (16)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (4-2): 8 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 9 strikeouts
LP - Jose Quintana (3-5): 6 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs (0 earned runs), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (17): 1 IP, 1 hit, 3 strikeouts