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Clayton Kershaw 'all over the place' in start vs. Mariners

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw didn't have his typical command on Sunday, but still managed to limit the Mariners to one run, pitching into the fourth inning in his third Cactus League start in the Dodgers' 5-2 win on Sunday at Peoria Sports Complex.

Kershaw allowed a run on four hits while striking out three, but he also walked three and was pulled with one out in the fourth inning having reached his limit of 65 pitches.

"During the season if you struggle and give up only one run you'll definitely take that. But they very easily could have had three or four," Kershaw said. "I walked three guys in three innings, and I haven't done that in a long time. There are a lot of things to work out."

It was Kershaw's first time in a game throwing to catcher Yasmani Grandal, not that it was a reason for Kershaw's relative struggles.

"He couldn't help me from throwing as bad as I did," Kershaw said. "Today was rough. I was all over the place. Had no idea where the ball was going. I’m getting worse as the spring goes on."

Grandal had a different view.

"He has a very high standard," Grandal said. "When I see a slider that he throws that I'm thinking is pretty good, he's thinking it's pretty bad. That comes with time."

Manager Don Mattingly just laughed after the game, when confirming with reporters that Kershaw was hard on himself during interviews. Mattingly said Kershaw was the same way on the bench during the game.

"That's what I think we love about him. He's always going to be striving for perfection," Mattingly said. "From our standpoint, the exercise of the day is more to get him up and down, make sure his pitch count continues to climb. We're happy."

Grandal had praise for Kershaw, especially how he worked in clutch situations.

"I don't think he struggled. I think he was more mad at himself for not making the quality pitches like he's used to," Grandal said. "I think he did a good job today. He left a lot of guys on base, which is one thing you want to see. He got out of a couple jams. It's just a matter of seeing what he does when he gets in a tight spot."

Kershaw took solace in his health.

"Physically I feel fine. I would have liked to make it through four today, but my pitch count was so high I couldn't do it," Kershaw said. "I'll be ready physically, I just have to get the other part there."

When asked what the "other part" was, Kershaw gave a curt answer.

"Getting people out."

Gonzalez motors home

The Dodgers got on the board first, in the first inning, when Adrian Gonzalez singled with two outs, then scored on a double in the left field corner by Howie Kendrick. a It was a notable play if only because Gonzalez was on first base when a double was hit 14 times in 2014, and scored just once.

Gonzalez was better in 2013, scoring seven times from first base on a double in 20 attempts, a 35-percent rate. In 2014 the National League scored from first base on a double 41.4 percent of the time. In his career, Gonzalez has scored from first base on a double in 31.2 percent of his opportunities.

Up next

The Dodgers return home to host the Athletics on Monday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, with Zack Greinke on the mound for Los Angeles. Oakland counters with Kendall Graveman.