LOS ANGELES—Who else would you want to rely on to avoid a series sweep, but Clayton Kershaw? The superstar pitcher delivered a dominant performance and earned his Major League leading seventh victory, and 20th career victory against the Giants.
“It was a good day,” said Kershaw. “Good to get those runs early off [Giants starter Johnny] Cueto and try to make those hold up. A good win, and we needed it today after losing three in a row. It’s never easy to win here, so it feels good.”
Kershaw (7-2 2.15 ERA) got run support early when Yasmani Grandal delivered a two run double in the first inning. This would set in motion the drama that ensued. While Grandal was on second base, Cueto (4-3 4.50 ERA) was convinced that he was stealing signals from Giants catcher Buster Posey. When Grandal came up to bat again in the third inning, Cueto sent him a high inside pitch that came close to his head. The pitch ended going past Posey and Chase Utley was able to score, making it 3-0 Dodgers. After the inning both benches cleared as Cueto and Grandal exchanged some words. Ultimately, no punches were thrown, and the issue seems to be water under the bridge.
“We talked about it, we apologized to each other, so we’re on good terms now I guess,” Grandal said. “Let’s not make it a bigger deal than it really is.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts failed to deny or admit whether his team was stealing signs, but as Cueto indicated he didn’t want to make a big deal about it either.
“Whether we were or we weren’t, obviously he was displeased by it and let us know,” Roberts said. “It’s a part of the game, it’s part of baseball.”
After the bench clearing incident things returned to normal as play resumed, and Cueto continued to struggle. He was one strike away from ending the sixth inning before Yasiel Puig converted Cueto’s pitch into a two run single that stretched the lead to 5-0. After surrendering five runs and eight hits Cueto was pulled after finishing the inning.
Kershaw was able to finish the day untarnished, only giving up three hits through seven innings of play. The lone Giant run was surrendered by former Giant Sergio Romo in the ninth inning as Eduardo Nunez recorded his first home run of the season. Nevertheless, the Giants never had a real shot of coming back. The Dodgers win simultaneously snaps their three game skid while ending the Giants season long five-game winning streak.
The Dodgers begin a new series Thursday night as they open up a ten-game home stand. They’ll start with a four game set against the Marlins and former manager Don Mattingly. Hyun Jin-Ryu (1-3, 4.99 ERA) will be on the mound, fighting for his spot in the rotation as he faces off against another struggling lefty, Matt Moore (2-4, 5.67 ERA).
Written By John Broadway