After a slight rain delay of 20 minutes, the Dodgers and Braves finally got underway, and it was quite a messy game for the Braves defensively. Yet they were the ones who prevailed in the end thanks to a five-run two-out rally in the 3rd frame against Clayton Kershaw that ended up being the difference in a 6-4 loss for the Dodgers.
Charlie Morton has rebounded from a rough start to 2021, rolling in his last three starts. Things didn’t start off ideally for him, however, as he hit Mookie Betts with a breaking ball to start, Justin Turner reached on an error, and after a ground out the runners were cornered. Morton then tried a pick-off and threw it into the stands to plate a run in Mookie to make it 1-0, but minimized the damage by getting the next two hitters.
Morton continued to rebound by getting clean frames in the 2nd and 3rd, actually retiring nine in a row at that point.
On the other side, Kershaw was looking to turn things around in June after posting a 4.83 ERA in May, and things at least got off to a nice start as he faced the minimum through two innings thanks to picking off a single.
The 3rd, though, was just a disaster for Kershaw. He surrendered a single to start, then two got outs, but gave up a walk, single, double, single, and double in a row before a strikeout mercifully ended the inning. All in all, five runs crossed the plate and gave the Braves a 5-1 lead.
To their credit, the Dodgers came right back in the 4th. Cody Bellinger started with a single and a stolen base, Chris Taylor then singled to corner the runners, and Matt Beaty lined a single to cut the lead to 5-2.
Gavin Lux followed with a single of his own to load the bases as the Dodgers went station-to-station, and while a run scored, Zach McKinstry grounded into a double play. The inning seemed to end after Austin Barnes hit a routine grounder to Dansby Swanson, but he threw it low to allow Barnes to reach and another run to score to make it 5-4 before the threat ended. On the play, Barnes twisted his ankle but he did stay in.
After a scoreless 5th, that was the end of Morton’s day. A.J. Minter got a scoreless 6th, and Luke Jackson followed in the 7th by rebounding from an error with two outs. Tyler Matzek relieved him and issued a walk before getting out of it.
Meanwhile, Kershaw clawed back from the disastrous 3rd with scoreless innings of his own in the next three to close his day out. Obviously not the way he wanted to start the month or any game, but he did provide some length at least: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 9 K, 95 Pitches.
Relieving him was Blake Treinen, who had a rough time last outing, and that continued tonight when he gave up a towering solo shot Abraham Almonte to start the 7th to make it 6-4. He then gave up a single, two walks, and three stolen bases but got out of it without further damage thanks to some … adventures outside the strike zone for Braves hitters. Phil Bickford was next in the 8th and continued to look solid, facing the minimum by erasing a single with a double play.
The Dodgers fall to 34-24 on the season.