Monday night at Dodger Stadium saw something old and something new, to borrow a phrase, but it was all blue. Another big inning propelled the Dodgers, this time 7-4 against the Braves on milestone nights for Clayton Kershaw and Freddie Freeman.
After getting presented his 2021 Silver Slugger Award before Monday’s game, Freeman saw two pitches in the strike zone in his first at-bat against his former team, hitting the second one over the wall in left center for the first run of the game.
Braves pitchers didn’t throw him another strike in his next two times up. Freeman after his second walk scored from first base on a three-run double from Trea Turner, looking to start a new streak after snapping his 27-game hit streak on Sunday.
Turner’s double capped a five-run fourth, the latest big outburst for the Dodgers, who during their seven-game winning streak have had innings with six, three, six, four, seven, and five runs scored.
With all that offense, Kershaw didn’t need to be perfect this time out, and Austin Riley ensured that he wouldn’t, with a single to right field with two outs in the opening frame.
Kershaw was still dominant, at least for a while. He struck out seven in five innings, five of them finished off by the signature slider. A Matt Olson double to open the fourth inning gave Kershaw his first taste of a runner in scoring position this season, but the left-hander wiggled out of the jam with a strikeout and two balls that never left the infield.
Most Dodger Stadium wins
Gulliermo Heredia homered off Kershaw with two outs in the fifth for Atlanta’s first run, then Ozzie Albies led off the sixth with a no-doubt home run into the pavilion in left. Kershaw faced two more batters in the sixth but retired none of them, allowing a single and a ground-rule double before departing. Both scored.
Kershaw on the season has no walks in his 12 innings, striking out 20 of his 42 batters faced. His 2,690 career strikeouts are just six shy of Don Sutton’s franchise record.
Sutton also has the most regular season wins at Dodger Stadium, with 126 victories at home in his 16 years with the Dodgers. But Kershaw on Monday joined him as the second pitcher with 100 wins at Chavez Ravine, where the left-hander has a 2.23 career ERA.
- Cody Bellinger doubled in the fifth, then added an insurance run with a solo home run in the eighth inning, his fifth multi-hit game in his last eight contests. Bellinger has a home run and a double in both Kershaw starts this season.
- Phil Bickford, who was recalled from Triple-A Sunday, was thrown into the fire in his first major league game of 2022 on Monday, pitching against the middle of the Braves order in the eighth with a two-run lead. He got weak contact from all four hitters faced, allowing only an infield single in a scoreless frame.
- Bickford in the eighth was usually the spot for Blake Treinen, who hasn’t pitched since Thursday. On the SportsNet LA broadcast, Joe Davis mentioned arm soreness for Treinen, who played catch before Monday’s game. Dave Roberts elaborated after the game:
#Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Blake Treinen’s arm was “barking” after his last appearance. Said he played catch today but doesn’t see him pitching in this series.— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) April 19, 2022
Home runs: Freddie Freeman (1), Cody Bellinger (2); Gulliermo Heredia (1), Ozzie Albies (5)
WP — Clayton Kershaw (2-0): 5+ IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 7 strikeouts
LP — Huascar Ynoa (0-2): 3⅔ IP, 4 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks, 4 strikeouts
Sv — Craig Kimbrel (3): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
Wednesday (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, TBS) features a matchup of opening day starters, with Walker Buehler on the mound for the Dodgers and left-hander Max Fried pitching for Atlanta.