Brand new blue

It’s a re­newed Ker­shaw with seven Ks and three hits of his own

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Dy­lan Her­nan­dez

DODGERS 11, COLORADO 4

DEN­VER — When Clay­ton Ker­shaw was re­moved from the game Mon­day night, he felt the way he did in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion six days ear­lier. Con­tent. “That’s a new feel­ing for me,” Ker­shaw joked.

Af­ter nine largely un­re­mark­able starts, Ker­shaw has won his last two, the more re­cent com­ing in the Dodgers’ 11-4 thump­ing of the last-place Colorado Rock­ies. Ker­shaw pitched seven innings, giv­ing up two runs on a fourth-in­ning home run Nolan Are­nado but noth­ing else.

“I’ll try to build on that, for sure,” he said.

The visit to Coors Field bol­stered the con­fi­dence of not only Ker­shaw, but also the re­cently-slump­ing Dodgers of­fense, which col­lected 18 hits, in­clud­ing home runs by An­dre Ethier, Jimmy Rollins, Joc Ped­er­son and Howie Ken­drick.

Ker­shaw drove in Rollins to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead in the sixth in­ning, as he showed bunt, only to slap ball to the op­po­site field and beat the Rock­ies’ de­fen­sive shift. The run was the sec­ond of six the Dodgers scored that in­ning.

The hit was the third of the game for Ker­shaw; he had never had that many in a game.

Adrian Gon­za­lez, who had four hits and a walk, said he hasn’t been sur­prised by the oc­ca­sional of­fen­sive con­tri­bu­tions of Ker­shaw and Zack Greinke.

“They’re like the high school pitcher that does it all,” Gon­za­lez said. “They’re re­ally good ath­letes. Ker­shaw, I’m sure, you can put him at first ev­ery day and he can de­fend him­self. The same with Greinke. You can put him on the field some­where.”

Ker­shaw said he doesn’t ap­proach hit­ting with the same in­ten­sity as he does his pitch­ing, which, in turn, makes it more en­joy­able.

“It’s a lit­tle bit more fun be­cause there’s not the pres­sure of need­ing to suc­ceed,” he said. “I guess it’s al­most like a free pass.”

Ker­shaw was also pleased with the ef­fec­tive­ness of his curve­ball and slider in Colorado’s thin air.

“It’s al­ways a lit­tle bit of an ex­tra chal­lenge to pitch here and to come out of it, get a win,” he said. “If you throw it right, it’s the same. It’s just a smaller mar­gin for er­ror. You don’t get away with as many mis­takes.”

Ker­shaw (4-3) limited the Rock­ies to five hits and a walk. He struck out seven and low­ered his once-un­sightly earned-run av­er­age to 3.73.

The start was the third in a row in which Ker­shaw pitched seven or more innings. He pitched only two such games in his first eight starts of the sea­son.

By min­i­miz­ing the work­load of his team’s re­liev­ers, Ker­shaw al­lowed the Dodgers to fol­low through with their plans for a bullpen game in the first game of a dou­ble­header the next day. The Dodgers and Rock­ies will be mak­ing up a game that was rained out here last month.

Rather than pro­mote a start­ing pitcher from the mi­nor leagues for the early con­test, the Dodgers will use a se­ries of re­liev­ers to get through the game. Long re­liever Juan Ni­ca­sio will be the first pitcher on the mound for them.

Zack Greinke will start the sec­ond game.

League rules will per­mit the Dodgers and Rock­ies to add a 26th player for the two games. For the Dodgers, that player will be left­hander Ian Thomas, who was ac­quired in the re­cent trade that sent Juan Uribe to the At­lanta Braves. Thomas will be re­called from triple-A Ok­la­homa City.

The Dodgers al­ready started to re­con­fig­ure their ros­ter Mon­day, call­ing up David Huff from triple-A Ok­la­homa City and send­ing down right-han­der Matt West.

Huff pitched the fi­nal two innings on Mon­day night in re­lief of Ker­shaw. Huff, who made a spot start for the Dodgers in April, was charged with two runs and four hits.

Doug Pensinger Getty Images

HOWIE KEN­DRICK

(47) cel­e­brates his three-run blast with Adrian Gon­za­lez and Justin Turner. The Dodgers had four homers.

Doug Pensinger Getty Images

JOC PED­ER­SON makes his one hit of the night count for a three-run homer in the sixth.

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