Clayton Kershaw was back to his dominating self on Sunday. At one point he retired 18 consecutive batters, while striking out 12.
It started out a bit rocky for the lefty staff ace, however. After striking out Norichika Aoki to start off the game he gave up back-to-back singles to Jean Segura and Ryan Braun. But, Kershaw didn’t wince and didn’t let it get to him. He induced an inning-ending ground ball double play to Jonathan Lucroy and that was that.
Carl Crawford led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run to deep right field on the first pitch he saw, giving Kershaw and the Dodgers an early lead. Nick Punto followed that up by hitting a single to right field before Milwaukee Brewers’ starting pitcher Kyle Lohse was able to get Adrian Gonzalez to pop out to left-center field for the first out of the inning. Matt Kemp followed that up by grounding into a fielder’s choice with Punto getting thrown out at second base. Andre Ethier came up to bat and flied out to center field to end the inning with a 1-0 lead.
Rickie Weeks led off the top of the second inning by hitting a double to shallow center off of Kershaw. Carlos Gomez flied out to deep right-center field and Weeks tagged and advanced to third base. Yuniesky Betancourt flied out to right field, but the Brewers decided not to test the arm of Ethier and Weeks stayed put. Kershaw then struck Martin Maldonado out to end the inning.
Ramon Hernandez, getting the start to give A.J. Ellis a rest day, struck out swinging before Juan Uribe singled to left-center field. Justin Sellers struck out swinging for the second out and Kershaw grounded out to shortstop for the third out of the inning.
Fans at Blue Heaven on Earth started to see the Kershaw they have all grown to love over the years since he was drafted out of high school in 2006. He struck out Lohse to start the third inning and then got Aoki to pop out to left-center field. Segura proved to be no match for Kershaw, flailing at strike three to end the inning.
Crawford led off the bottom of the third by flying out to left field and Nick Punto singled to shallow right-center field. But that was all the Dodgers would muster as Gonzalex popped out to shallow right-center field and Kemp grounded into a fielder’s choice, forcing Punto out at second base.
Kershaw tossed a perfect fourth and recorded another two strikeouts by getting Braun to whiff and miss and catching weeks looking. In between those two strikeouts he got Lucroy to fly out to center field.
Lohse reminded baseball fans that he can be dominant as well. He got both Ethier and Hernandez to fly out to center field and right field, respectively and struck out Juan Uribe for a perfect frame for himself.
That was followed up by a perfect fifth inning by Kershaw who got Gomez to fly out to right field before striking out another pair – Betancourt and Maldonado.
Sellers led off the bottom of fifth inning by flying out to left field for the first out of the inning. Kershaw came up to bat but fouled out to the catcher to record the second quick out for Lohse. Crawford showed Kershaw that the offense had his back and he hit his second home run of the day, another solo shot to deep right field to give Kershaw and the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Lohse struck out Punto to get out of the inning.
Kershaw pitched his fourth perfect frame in a row when he mowed down Lohse and Aoki on fastballs to strike them out to start off the top of the sixth inning. He then induced a comebacker from Segura, which he flipped to Gonzalez at first for an easy inning.
Lohse matched Kershaw in the bottom half of the inning with a 1-2-3 inning of his own by getting Gonzalez to fly out to deep right and getting Kemp and ethier to each ground out to end the inning in quick fashion.
Kershaw continued his dominance in the top half of the seventh inning. He got Braun to ground out to shortstop, Lucroy to fly out to center field and got Weeks to ground out to second base for his fifth perfect frame in a row.
Once again, Lohse matched Kershaw batter-for-batter. He was able to get Hernandez to ground out to first base to start off the inning. Then he was able to get Uribe to pop out to right-center field for the second out of the inning. Sellers then flied out to center field to end the inning and give Lohse another three up, three down inning.
Gomez led off the eighth inning by finally getting through to Kershaw and hitting a double to deep center field. Betancourt followed that up striking out looking. Maldonado hit into a fielder’s choice, advancing Gomez to third base. The Brewers then went to their bench in hopes of breaking through against the lefty phenom from Highland Park, Texas. The called on Khris Davis to pinch hit for Lohse. But, as is usually the case when it comes to Kershaw, it didn;t matter. He struck out Davis for the final out of the inning.
Michael Gonzalez came in to relieve Lohse to face the Dodgers in the bottom of the eighth and Jerry Hairston, Jr. led off the inning, pinch hitting for Kershaw. Hairston fouled out to left field for the first out of the inning and Gonzalez struck out Crawford for the second out. Punto then reached on an infield single to shortstop before Gonzalez lined out to right field to end the inning.
Brandon League relieved Kershaw in the top of the ninth and worked a perfect ninth for his eighth save of the year in nine chances. He get Aoki to ground out to shortstop to open the inning and then got Segura to pop out to shallow right field for the second out of the inning. He finished off the game by getting Braun to ground out to shortstop.
Kershaw improved to 3-2 on the year while lowering his earned run average to 1.73. He scattered four hits over eight innings and didn’t walk a single batter. He hasn’t allowed more then three earned runs in 18 consecutive starts, which is the longest active streak in the majors.
Related Posts:Recap from the Ravine Game 23 Brewers 6 – dodgers 4Recap from the Ravine Game 22: Dodgers 7 – Brewers 5Game 7 Recap From the RavineGame Six Recap: Dodgers 6 – Pirates 2Game 8 Recap from the Ravine