The Dodgers couldn’t do a thing against rookie left-hander Ty Blach, wasting a gem by Clayton Kershaw in a 3-0 loss to the Giants on Saturday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The loss ensured that the Dodgers will open the National League Division Series on the road against the Nationals, and pushed the Giants one step closer to another playoff berth.
San Francisco owns a one-game lead over the Cardinals with one to play for the second wild card spot in the National League, vying for the right to travel to New York to play the Mets in the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday night. The Giants are assured of playing at least once after Sunday, either clinching the wild card spot on Sunday with a win or a Cardinals loss, or a one-game playoff in St. Louis on Monday.
Blach was up to the task of his matchup with Kershaw, and shut the Dodgers down with eight scoreless innings. In just his fourth major league game and second start, Blach retired 11 straight at one point, and struck out six while allowing only three hits and a walk.
The Dodgers fell to 22-23 against opposing southpaw starters this season.
Kershaw retired his first 11 batters before Buster Posey singled to left in the fourth inning.
Pagan led off the fifth inning with drive just over the left field wall to open the scoring. It was the 12th home run of the season for Pagan and the first of his career against Kershaw, though with five doubles he joined select company with the home run.
Angel Pagan ties Rickie Weeks and Adam Dunn for the most career extra-base hits off Clayton Kershaw. Pagan has five doubles and now a HR.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) October 1, 2016
Pagan started the seventh inning with a single, then a throwing error contributed to two more runs against Kershaw, one unearned.
Though he suffered the loss in his final start, and had the audacity to walk his 11th batter of the season, Kershaw ended his stellar yet shortened 2016 campaign with a ridiculous 1.69 ERA and 0.725 WHIP in 149 innings, the latter a record for any pitcher in major league history with at least 100 innings.
The Dodgers close out their regular season with Kenta Maeda on the mound for Sunday’s 12:05 p.m. PT start. The Giants, who can clinch a wild card spot with a win or a loss by the Cardinals, will send Matt Moore to the mound in the series finale.
Home run: Angel Pagan (12)
WP - Ty Blach (1-0): 8 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP - Clayton Kershaw (12-4): 7 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Sv - Sergio Romo (4): 1 IP, 1 strikeout