LOS ANGELES — Now a back-to-back three-time Cy Young Award winner is a future Hall of Famer for the Dodgers.
In his first start since July 3, Clayton Kershaw allowed just one run in the Dodgers’ starting rotation and included in the fifth inning of a 5–1 Dodgers win on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw dropped four hits and one walk in his 4–1/3 innings, struck five and threw 50 pitches (below his target total of 60 on his first start in two months – but pitched only four innings from him. was expected to do).
“There’s no better feeling in the world than to pitch here and win,” he said after making his 193rd debut at Dodger Stadium. “It’s a special thing. I lost it. It was good to be back. We got the win today and all is well.”
With Triple-A beginning three-innings rehab last week, Kershaw was left predictably dissatisfied—he told catcher Austin Barnes that he “spent the last two months trying to recover. Now I have it again.” Have four or five days to learn how to pitch from.
“There’s no way to emulate a big-league game. There really isn’t,” he said on Monday. “You can do all the bullpen, all the rehab, whatever work you want to do. But for whatever reason, pitching in a big league sport is different and the only way to do it and get better at it is to do it, go out and compete. So I’m glad I got it behind me for the first time.
Looks like he was doing a quick study. The first innings was not particularly good. Three of the first five Diamondbacks hitters on double, walk and RBI single. But Kershaw ended the innings by dismissing Henry Ramos.
Starting with Ramos, Kershaw retired 11 of the last 13 batsmen he was allowed to face. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Kershaw when he went twice through the Diamondbacks’ lineup, retiring a batsman in the fifth inning.
“I think there are still things I need to work on pitching,” Kershaw said. “Today, it was nice to be back there. But at the same time, we’re in a race so there’s not a lot of time to iron out the kinks. For me, I was throwing a lot more curveballs today than I was before, but it felt like That was what was working. That slider has to work. Fastball was fine at times too. But there are definitely some things I need to work on.”
Roberts said that Kershaw’s familiar sight on the mound at Dodger Stadium brought “a lot of positive energy” to the team.
“It was great. It was nice to see him back there taking the ball,” said Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. “We talked before the game, how hard it is for him not to get out there and every can compete on day 5. We are all excited to see him back there.
“Kersh is our boy. He is our leader. When he takes the ball, we know we have a really good chance of winning the ballgame. He was special.”
The Dodgers topped the Diamondbacks’ first innings with their three runs against Jack Gallen.
Four of the first five Dodgers batsmen reached base, along with Mookie Bates (who is now seven for 16 with a double, two home runs, six RBIs and six runs since going back to the leadoff spot last week). started.
Corey Seeger scored in the first run with an RBI single and then a two-run double from Justin Turner in the left field corner from first base.
Galen got out of it and two runners got stuck in the second. The Diamondbacks right-handed batsman threw 52 pitches to cross those two innings and didn’t look like he would be around for long.
But the Dodgers could not deliver a knockout blow and Galen entered the sixth inning.
The Dodgers nearly reached him again in the fourth inning when Gavin Lux and Barnes led with back-to-back singles. After a sacrificial bunt by Kershaw, Bates sent a fly ball into shallow right field. Lux tagged in and headed home, syncing with a throw from right fielder Jake McCarthy.
Originally called Safe, Lux was kicked out after the call was reversed after a lengthy replay review (about 2½ minutes).
The Dodgers eventually scored again in the sixth inning, taking Galen out of the game. Barnes made the loss with an RBI double.
Justin Turner scored his three-RBI night in the seventh inning with a single home run. After making 84 plate appearances between home runs, Turner now has four in his last 24 at-bats.
“It just worked,” said Turner, whose only hit at the time was home runs. “I think I’ve got my timing back. I feel like I’m a little late there.”
First-placed San Francisco Giants won their eighth game in a row on Monday, securing a playoff berth for the first time since 2016 and putting the Dodgers 2½ games back to play in the regular season with 17 in the NL West.
“I’m grateful,” Kershaw said of getting back in action. “I really didn’t know what it was going to look like at the end of this season. So it’s a big deal for me to be a part of. I’ll never take it lightly — to race for the playoffs, be part of it.” To be. And it’s good now. The Giants aren’t giving up. They’re not making it easy for us. It’s going to be fun.”
“There are no great feelings in the world better than to pitch here and win. This is a special thing. I lost it. Nice to be back.” @claytonkersh22 On his first return from IL. pic.twitter.com/VLY5ohZQ3O
— sportsnet LA (@sportsnetla) September 14, 2021