Brewers 4, Dodgers 3: Clayton Kershaw was great, until he wasn’t

It isn’t often Clayton Kershaw is cruising through seven innings only to have the Dodgers lose the game, but that happened on Monday in Miller Park as the Brewers won 4-3. A 3-run eighth propelled Milwaukee to victory.

Kershaw looked like vintage Kershaw through seven innings, as he needed just 76 pitches to get to that point. He ran into a spot of bother in the eighth. He allowed retired old friend Elian Herrera after falling behind 3-0, and then allowed a home run to Hector Gomez. I know, right? It’s not even the right Gomez. He then allowed a double to Adam Lind, who is a career .214 hitter against left-handed pitchers. At 91 pitches, Tim Wallach — not Don Mattingly, who was ejected for arguing a balk call — removed Kershaw in favor of Chris Hatcher. That move could be questioned, but Kershaw also had already thrown 15 pitches in the inning and was struggling a little bit.

Hatcher has been really good in his last nine outings (2.25 ERA, .111 BAA, 13/2 K/BB ratio), but he was bad tonight. He couldn’t locate his splitter, and Carlos Gomez tied the game before Ryan Braun gave the Brewers the lead.

Back to Kershaw for a moment — he was great for most of the night, and his line doesn’t reflect how well he actually pitched: 7 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 91 pitches, 59 strikes, 12/2 GO/AO.

Here’s one undeniably great thing he did:

Kershaw seems to play his best defense in Milwaukee.

The game started quite well, as not-rookie-of-the-month Joc Pederson homered on the third pitch he saw from Brewers’ starter Kyle Lohse. It was his second leadoff home run, and his fifth home run in six games. He’s really, really good.

Yasmani Grandal, who has hit the ball hard the entire season, seems to be getting on track after recording another three hits, including a double and a single that, if it were five feet higher, would have been a 3-run home run. He had half of their six hits on the night.

Adrian Gonzalez‘s line was one you don’t see everyday: 0-for-0, 3 BB, HBP.

The Dodgers fall to 16-9 on the season while the Brewers improve to 8-18. The Dodgers send Zack Greinke (4-0, 1.93 ERA) to the bump to take on noted jerk Matt Garza (2-3, 4.60). First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. Pacific time.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.