Tuesday night was a game that saw both sides frustrated, unable to do much of anything despite several chances on offense. The Dodgers managed to scratch across a run in the first inning, and thanks to Clayton Kershaw and friends made it hold up for a 1-0 victory over the White Sox.
The Dodgers have their second 10-game winning streak of the season, and have won a ridiculous 30 of their last 34 games. They have also won their last six one-run decisions.
Kershaw allowed some traffic in the early going, with runners on base in each of the first four innings. But despite fighting it, Kershaw was able to keep Chicago off the board, and retired the side in order in the fifth.
A single and an error by Corey Seager put a runner in scoring position, where the White Sox were 1-for-8 against Kershaw. That lone hit was by Matt Davidson in this spot, but his ball was hit too hard to center field, and Avisail Garcia had to hold at third base, the first time Chicago reached third base all night.
It would be the only time.
Tyler Saladino tried to bunt with one out, but popped out to catcher Yasmani Grandal, then Kershaw got Yolmer Sanchez to ground out to end the threat.
Kershaw was heavily involved in getting through the seventh, fielding two ground balls for a pair of 1-3 putouts to open the frame. Then, after Tim Anderson singled with two outs, Kershaw picked him off, another 1-3 putout — the call was originally safe, but overturned on replay review — to finish his night.
Kershaw leads all active pitchers in baseball with 58 pickoffs, with James Shields the next closest at 33. But that was also Kershaw’s first pickoff since 2015.
It was another great July start for Kershaw, who has allowed two runs in 23 innings this month, with 31 strikeouts and three walks. Kershaw has a win in each of his last eight starts, improving to 15-2 on the season, and the Dodgers have won his last 14 starts, dating back to May 6.
The Dodgers struck first with two singles and a walk in their first four batters of the game. Cody Bellinger‘s single drove home Chris Taylor for the game’s first run. Taylor, who singled, had four hits on the night.
Bellinger also reached base four times, with two hits and two walks.
The threat wasn’t over, as the Dodgers loaded the bases with one out. But they couldn’t capitalize. Joc Pederson grounded into a double play to end the inning, one of three double plays induced by White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez.
Gonzalez allowed five hits and five walks in the first five innings, but only gave up the one run, and he lasted six innings, with five strikeouts.
The Dodgers loaded the bases again in the eighth inning, this time with nobody out. It was the third different time they loaded the bases in the game, and would be the third time they failed to score, thanks to a Grandal strikeout and ground ball double play by Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers’ fourth double play of the night, one shy of the club record.
The Dodgers only turned one double play on the night, but it was a beauty started by Seager in the fourth inning.
6-4-3. #LetsGoDodgers pic.twitter.com/ENNqYZlgUV— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 19, 2017
In the eighth inning, Puig laid out in right field to rob Melky Cabrera of a leadoff hit.
The Puig play was the first out of a perfect eighth inning for Pedro Baez, who was followed by a scoreless ninth inning from Kenley Jansen to close out the win.
That ninth inning didn’t come without worry though, as Matt Davidson led off with a 400-foot drive to the wall in left center field. Given the initial reactions of Taylor in left field and the SposrtNet LA camera man, it looked like Jansen was about to blow his first save of the season. But instead the ball landed safely in Taylor’s glove for the first out.
The Dodgers finish off their quick Chicago series with Kenta Maeda on the mound Wednesday night, another 5:10 p.m. PT start. The White Sox counter with left-hander Carlos Rodon.
Home runs: none
WP - Clayton Kershaw (15-2): 7 IP, 7 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP - Miguel Gonzalez (4-9): 6 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 5 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (24): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout