On a day the Dodgers had their fill of bad news regarding their starting rotation, the club got another scare when Scott Kazmir appeared to hurt his leg in the fifth inning on Tuesday night against the Nationals. But he was able to overcome the setback to have one of his best starts of the season.
It turned out to be leg cramps, first in his left calf, then in his right calf.
"He's had a history of cramping. He's had a history of some cramping," manager Dave Roberts told reporters after the game, as seen on SportsNet LA. "We got some bananas in him, hydrated him, got him a massage and he was able to go back out there."
Staked to a 6-0 lead, Kazmir jumped to field a bouncer back to the box by Danny Espinsoa, but then landed awkwardly on his right foot on the dirt in front of the pitching rubber. Kazmir was able to lob to first base to retire Espinosa for the second out of the inning, but was grimacing and limping around the mound, which brought a visit from trainer Nate Lucero and Roberts.
Amazingly, Kazmir didn't even throw a warmup pitch and remained in the game, but then immediately flinched making his first to the next batter, Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton. a Kazmir's third pitch was deposited over the left field wall for Washington's first run, but then Kazmir recovered to strike out pitcher Matt Belisle, but was grimacing and shaking his head while walking off the mound, indicating that something was still wrong.
Kazmir went down the tunnel between innings with team trainers, but shockingly his night wasn't done. That's when he used an unusual remedy.
"I think I drank pretty much everything under the sun, some pickle juice and mustard," Kazmir said. "I think I had a little bit of that on my face in the next half inning. But a lot of the stuff actually worked."
Not only did Kazmir stay in the game, but retired six of his next seven batters faced, and with an efficient pitch count was able to last seven innings, allowing just the one run four hits, striking out eight with no walks for the win.
"It was big. Kaz has a lot of fight in him, and with what we're going through guys have got to step up," Roberts said. "Today was a great outing by Kaz."
He even got tested and passed in the sixth inning, needing to beat the speedy Ben Revere to the bag on a ground ball to first base.
"It felt like I was kind of walking on egg shells. I was a little cautious, but it felt fine," Kazmir said.
The Dodgers turn to Bud Norris on Wednesday night, another 4:05 p.m. PT start. The Nationals will start southpaw Gio Gonzalez in the middle game of the series.