Dodgers 9, Astros 2: Clayton Kershaw cruises through 7 2/3 innings as he keeps the Astros lineup guessing

While this certainly wasn’t the first time the Dodgers had met the Astros on the field since Houston’s cheating scandal erupted, it was the first time with fans in attendance, and since Astros fans have been working overtime to somehow victimize themselves in all this, it was a predictably rowdy affair.

The Dodgers jumped out to an early lead and never gave it up thanks to Clayton Kershaw putting it in cruise control, so the crowd ended up staying in whisper mode for most of the game as the Dodgers got a 9-2 victory. They have now won eight in a row.

——

Old friend Zack Greinke started the game looking sharp, setting down the first nine batters he faced. The 4th saw a different story, as Mookie Betts drew a four-pitch walk and Justin Turner followed by smacking a two-run oppo taco for the game’s first runs. It was JT’s 8th dinger on the year.

After the homer, Greinke continued to cruise and the 6th looked like another easy inning after getting the first two outs. However, the Dodgers put together one of their patented two-out rallies, with a Turner single, Max Muncy and Will Smith drawing back-to-back walks, and then Chris Taylor dunking a single over the infield to make it 4-0.

Joe Smith took over for Greinke in the 7th and he labored against the bottom of the order. A seven-pitch at-bat resulted in a Gavin Lux single, he got Matt Beaty to strikeout after 10 pitches, and then Austin Barnes singled after six pitches to corner the runners. During Betts’ at-bat, he uncorked a wild pitch to score a run, probably due to being tired or something, and then got him to ground out after six pitches.

An exhausting day for Smith was then brought to an end, with Enoli Paredes replacing him and ending the inning.

There have been no updates on the other side of things because, well, there was nothing going on. While he didn’t miss a ton of bats, Kershaw did get a whole ton of weak contact and generally cruised. He retired the first 10 batters he faced before allowing a double in the 4th, then retired the next six batters. He ran into minor trouble in the 6th after allowing a one-out single that advanced to second on an out, but got out of that without issue as well.

In the 7th, Alex Bregman hit a hanging curve into the short porch in left to make it 5-1. But that was the only run of the game Kershaw surrendered, as he absolutely sailed through an Astros lineup that looked off balance all game long: 7.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 81 Pitches.

Meanwhile, Paredes continued in the 8th, giving up a one-out single to Smith, then hitting Taylor, and issuing a two-out walk to Lux to load the bases. That was the end of his night as Kent Emanuel entered and issued a four-pitch walk to Beaty to force in a run. He then exited with an apparent injury and Andre Scrubb entered only to walk Barnes and Betts to force another two runs in and make it 8-1.

Scrubb continued in the 9th and continued struggling to throw strikes. Muncy walked to start, then with one out Taylor singled, DJ Peters walked to load the bases, and Lux hit a ground ball but managed to beat out a double play try to plate another and make it 9-1.

Because Dave Roberts wanted to troll or something, Joe Kelly was the first man out of the pen in what seemed like a wholly unnecessary change in the 8th and got the inning’s final out.

With the game firmly in hand, Phil Bickford entered in the 9th, giving up back-to-back singles to start, then giving up a run on a botched double play that Taylor threw away for an error, but then bounced back with two strikeouts to end it.

——

I know what the audience craves.

——

The victory gets the Dodgers to 30-18, a 101-win pace.

The short series will wrap up tomorrow as the Dodgers go for the mini-sweep at 1:30 PM HST/4:30 PM PST/7:30 PM EST with Trevor Bauer (1.98 ERA/3.01 FIP/2.90 DRA) taking the hill against Luis Garcia (3.38 ERA/4.75 FIP/4.29 DRA).

About Chad Moriyama

"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times