Dodgers 2, Braves 1: Dodgers take series with ugly win

It wasn’t pretty, but the Dodgers won their second consecutive extra inning game against the Braves by a 2-1 score on Thursday afternoon in Atlanta.

Clayton Kershaw didn’t have his best stuff by any means, but he still managed to throw eight innings and finish with this line: 10 hits,  1 run (earned), 1 walk, 10 strikeouts, 115 pitches, 83 strikes, 9/1 GO/AO. Chock it up to an early start, poor command or the Braves’ hitters ambushing Kershaw, but this was one of the uglier 8-inning, 10-strikeout starts one could have (Braves’ starter Matt Wisler had a better Game Score than Kershaw — 68 to 67). We’ve reached the point when this is a “decent” start for Kershaw.

The Dodgers got on the board first when Corey Seager, who reached on an error, scored on Joc Pederson‘s defense-assisted single. The Braves struck back in the bottom of the first when he gave up back-to-back doubles to Erick Aybar and Daniel Castro. Those were two of the 10 (!) hits Kershaw allowed on the day. It was the first time Kershaw allowed 10 hits to an opponent since April 11, 2015, when the Diamondbacks banged out 10 hits and six runs. For comparison’s sake: Kershaw had allowed 10 hits in 22 innings coming into today’s game.

That was most of the offensive excitement until the seventh inning. A.J. Ellis reached on an error before Charlie Culberson grounded into a double play. Kershaw then reached on an error and Chase Utley walked. With two outs, Seager singled to right field. Kershaw was waved home and initially called out at the plate. After a 4 1/2-minute review, the call was confirmed. It was a close play and looked like Kershaw was safe, but the replay officials thought otherwise.

In the eighth inning, the Dodgers got two men on in front of A.J. Ellis’ spot in the lineup. Yasmani Grandal pinch-hit and drew a walk (because of course he did) to load the bases. With Culberson due up against old “friend” Jim Johnson, Justin Turner was called upon to pinch-hit. In frustrating fashion, he flied out to right field on the first pitch (a good play by Jeff Francoeur). In the bottom-half, Kershaw got back-to-back strikeouts to begin the inning. He issued his only walk of the game to Freddie Freeman and allowed a single to Adonis Garcia. On his 115th pitch, Kershaw got Dodger killer (in this series, at least) Tyler Flowers to ground into a fielder’s choice).

Chad summed up the two Dodger scoring chances late in the game succinctly.

“You trying to say Jesus Christ can’t hit a curveball?!”

Like last night, the game was tied in the ninth inning and Dave Roberts failed to use Kenley Jansen. Instead, he turned to Chris Hatcher. Luckily, Roberts and the Dodgers were not burned as Hatcher put the Braves down 1-2-3 in the ninth inning.

In the 10th inning, Enrique Hernandez singled and was driven in by Grandal’s double to center field (104 MPH off the bat). That gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Turner and Howie Kendrick were unable to give the Dodgers any insurance runs heading into the bottom of the 10th.

Aybar doubled with one out in the 10th. Aybar had 22.2 percent of his hits in 2016 in this very game. Baseball! Jansen got two fly balls to end the game and earned his seventh save of the season.

The Dodgers (10-6) travel to Colorado for a 3-game series in the hell that is Coors Field. Scott Kazmir (1-1, 6.43 ERA) will look to bounce back from back-to-back poor outings. He will be opposed by Jon Gray, who is making his season debut. First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 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.