Dodgers 3, D-Backs 2: Scott Van Smash to the rescue

This was kind of an off day for Clayton Kershaw. Sure, he delivered seven and one-third innings of two-run ball and struck out 11 batters. But he also gave up a home run (his sixth of the season, off the bat Rickie Weeks), and he issued a walk (his seventh of the season), AND he made an error on a pickoff throw.

Well…he sort of issued a walk, anyway:

For whatever it’s worth, Weeks has kind of owned Kershaw in his career, going 7-for-20 with a slash line of .350/.435/.750.

As for those home run and walk numbers:

Through five innings, the Dodgers offense was doing that thing they do where they get a good number of men on base (five hits, three walks off of Patrick Corbin), but fail to actually cash anyone in. That’s frustrating on any day, but it’s especially frustrating when Kershaw is dealing and they’re not doing anything to help him out.

Then, in the top of the sixth, Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick notched back-to-back, two-out singles. Scott Van Slyke stepped to the plate, and did not miss Corbin’s 1-0 fastball:

 

The Dodgers wouldn’t score again, but that didn’t matter, as Kershaw and the bullpen managed to hold on to the lead.

Kershaw did run into some trouble in the bottom of the sixth when Michael Bourn led the inning off with a base hit, and Paul Goldschmidt came within inches of tying the game:

Fortunately for Kershaw and the Dodgers, it wound up just being a long single, and Goldschmidt ended up stranded on base.

Kershaw also worked around a leadoff double to pitch a scoreless bottom of the seventh, and retired the first batter he faced in the bottom of the eighth. With 104 pitches under his belt and the top of the order coming up, he gave way to Joe Blanton.

Trayce Thompson made a nice running catch for the second out in the eighth, but Corey Seager couldn’t handle a grounder, which meant that Blanton had to face Goldschmidt with a runner on and just a one-run lead to work with. After an eight-pitch battle, Goldschmidt grounded out weakly to shortstop. It was the third time in as many games and as many at bats that Blanton retired Goldschmidt.

The Dodgers went down in order in the top of the 9th, and Kenley Jansen came in to retire the side in order (2 K) to record his 161st save as a Dodger, tying Eric Gagne‘s franchise record.

Stacie wrote this morning about the Dodgers’ subpar record in one-run games. Their record in such games is now 8-13.

The Dodgers now head back to Los Angeles for a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers who, at 30-35 (and about to be swept by the Giants), are fourth in the NL Central. Scott Kazmir will face Junior Guerra (3.31 ERA) tomorrow night. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She now writes for The Hardball Times, FanGraphs, and Sporting News, and co-hosts a podcast, The Hardball Times Audio. She recently earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.