BULLPEN NEARLY COSTS DODGERS

Ker­shaw is mas­ter­ful but L.A. has to come back af­ter Garcia blows lead.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Dy­lan Her­nan­dez

DODGERS 4 SAN DIEGO 3

SAN DIEGO — The play­ers on the Dodgers bench froze. The fans in the sta­dium gasped. A come­backer trav­el­ing at more than 100 mph had struck Clay­ton Ker­shaw on his left hip.

About the only per­son at Petco Park who didn’t look con­cerned was Ker­shaw.

With the wave of a hand, Ker­shaw sig­naled to an ap­proach­ing team trainer to re­turn to the dugout.

Ker­shaw wasn’t about to be knocked out of a game by a first-in­ning line drive from Justin Up­ton. As the San Diego Padres learned over the course of Fri­day night, there was lit­tle that could be done to stop Ker­shaw.

Ex­cept maybe the Dodgers.

In a 4-3 victory that in­cluded a blown lead by the bullpen and an eighth-in­ning come­back for the Dodgers, Ker­shaw de­liv­ered

an­other mas­ter­ful per­for­mance.

If not for his team tem­po­rar­ily im­plod­ing shortly af­ter his sev­enth-in­ning de­par­ture, Ker­shaw would have ex­tended his per­sonal win­ning streak to four starts. Over 62⁄3 innings, Ker­shaw limited the Padres to one run and four hits. He struck out 11 and walked three.

The Padres didn’t score on him un­til the sev­enth in­ning, when Clint Barmes hit a solo home run to left field.

The per­for­mance has be­come some­thing of the norm in re­cent weeks for Ker­shaw, who was 2-3 with a 4.32 earned-run av­er­age through his first nine starts of the sea­son.

In his last four starts, Ker­shaw has posted a 0.94 ERA. Over that pe­riod, Ker­shaw has struck out 39 bat­ters in 282⁄3 innings. What changed? “I don’t think it’s a whole lot dif­fer­ent, hon­estly,” said Manager Don Mat­tingly.

Mat­tingly said he was never both­ered by Ker­shaw’s early-sea­son re­sults.

“There’s no rea­son to worry,” Mat­tingly said. “His stuff ’s good.”

And, as far as Ker­shaw’s mind-set was con­cerned, Mat­tingly said, “Noth­ing re­ally changes with him.”

About the only real drama Ker­shaw en­coun­tered was in the first in­ning, when he was hit by Up­ton’s come­backer. Up­ton reached base on what was ruled an in­field sin­gle and Ker­shaw walked the next bat­ter, Matt Kemp. But Ker­shaw forced Yangervis So­larte to pop up to end the in­ning.

Af­ter Up­ton, the next Padres player to reach scor­ing po­si­tion was So­larte, who dou­bled with two outs in the sixth in­ning. Ker­shaw ended the threat by forc­ing Will Mid­dle­brooks to ground out.

By then, the Dodgers were lead­ing, 2-0.

Adrian Gon­za­lez’s twoout sin­gle in the third in­ning drove in Joc Ped­er­son for their first run.

A.J. El­lis dou­bled the lead in the fourth in­ning, when his sin­gle drove in Justin Turner.

This marked the fifth con­sec­u­tive start by Ker­shaw that was caught by El­lis in­stead of the team’s pri­mary catcher, Yas­mani Gran­dal. Ker­shaw had pitched seven or more innings in each of the pre­vi­ous four starts, in­clud­ing a sea­son-high eight innings six days ear­lier in a victory over the St. Louis Car­di­nals.

On this night, Ker­shaw was pre­vented from reach­ing the seven-in­ning bench­mark by a solo home run by Barmes.

Mat­tingly al­lowed Ker­shaw to re­tire one more bat­ter, pinch-hit­ter Cory Span­gen­berg, be­fore re­plac­ing him with right-han­der Yimi Garcia.

With Garcia on the mound and Turner at first base, the Dodgers were about to en­counter a neardis­as­ter.

Turner was at first base as a re­place­ment for Gon­za­lez, who was ejected af­ter ground­ing into an in­nin­gend­ing dou­ble play with the bases loaded in the top of the sev­enth in­ning. Gon­za­lez ap­peared to be up­set about the first pitch of the at-bat, which was clearly out­side but called for a strike by home plate um­pire Doug Ed­dings.

Garcia forced Wil My­ers to pop up in the in­field, but no one caught it, as Garcia and Turner ran into each other. My­ers reached sec­ond base on the play, for which Turner was charged with an er­ror.

The next bat­ter, Derek Nor­ris, blasted a two-run home run. Sud­denly, the Dodgers were down, 3-2. They didn’t trail for long. The Dodgers re­claimed the lead by scor­ing twice in the eighth in­ning, as Turner sin­gled in Howie Ken­drick and pinch-hit­ter Alex Guer­rero drove home An­dre Ethier.

De­nis Poroy Getty Images

DODGERS PINCH-HIT­TER Alex Guer­rero hits a run-scor­ing sin­gle dur­ing the eighth in­ning against San Diego. Guer­rero’s hit proved to be the game-win­ner.

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