Dodgers’ southpaw Clayton Kershaw continued his run of quality pitching against the hapless Mets offense.
Kershaw tossed another scoreless outing, his second consecutive and fourth in his last five starts. Over that time he has allowed just two earned runs in 29-2/3 innings pitched; he also extended his scoreless innings streak on the road to 15 innings.
The biggest threat Kershaw faced was in the bottom of the third. Centerfielder Matt Kemp gave Kershaw some help when he made an outstanding throw to change the course of the inning and perhaps the game.
Alex Cora lined a ball over the head of Furcal at short. The low-liner caused Castillo to pause at first base to make sure the ball went through, but the slight hesitation ended up being the difference. Castillo was one-step late as Kemp’s throw came in to Casey Blake right on the money for the second out of the inning.
The throw prevented David Wright from having runners at first and third with one-out and he harmlessly flew out to right. It was Kemp’s ninth outfield assist, which is second best in the league.
Aside from that, Kershaw went six strong innings and gave up just three hits while fanning seven Mets batters. Most importantly, he walked only two hitters. Entering the game he was second in the Majors averaging 5.5 Walks/Nine innings.
Manny Ramirez was ejected in the fifth inning after being called out on strikes on a fastball off the plate. Ramirez had argued a call briefly in the first inning on a similar pitch but apparently set off home plate umpire John Hirschbeck this time.
However, he was able to go 2-for-4 with three RBI before making an early exit.
Los Angeles jumped on Mets starter Mike Pelfrey for three runs in the second inning and two in the fourth to chase him after only three plus innings of work. Pelfrey didn’t have bad stuff on the mound but he was working unusually slow and threw too many pitches to hang around.
After Russell Martin and Matt Kemp singled, Rafael Furcal came up with two-outs and two runners in scoring position. He is hitting just .174 in those situations, but Pelfrey pitched carefully to Furcal and walked him.
Orlando Hudson then worked the count full and drew a base loaded walk to plate Martin and make it a 1-0 Dodgers lead. Hudson entered the game marred in a 0-for-22 slump and was just 1-for-28 in his last eight games, but the O-Dog went 2-for-4 tonight with two RBI.
Manny Ramirez followed that up with a broken bat single that dropped just over the outstretched arms of shortstop Alex Cora and easily scored both Kemp and Furcal to extend the margin to 3-0.
The Dodgers got back at it in the top of the fourth when Furcal bounced a routine groundball to Castillo at second but reached safely when Castillo threw the ball high and up the line.
Hudson then doubled sharply to left field and Furcal scored from first to make the tally 4-0. The double was Hudson’s first extra base hit in his last 11 games.
Ramirez then knocked in his third run of the night when he singled to right field, plating Hudson for the Dodgers' fifth run of the evening.
The Ramirez base hit sent Pelfrey to the showers after three innings and allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits. He struck out four but issued three walks.
Blake DeWitt pinch-hit for Clayton Kershaw in the seventh inning and launched his first home run of the season off of the façade of the second deck, high above the right-field wall. DeWitt clearly had not rounded the bases in a while because as he crossed home plate he slipped and nearly fell on his backside.
The Boys in Blue added another two runs in the eighth when Juan Pierre, who entered in left field when Ramirez was ejected, belted a triple off of the right center field wall.
Pierre went 4-for-7 on Sunday while Ramirez rested sore legs and appears to be transitioning nicely into his new role.
Casey Blake brought him home with a sacrifice fly to center field and made it a 7-0 ball game and then a few batters later Kemp drew a bases loaded walk to cap the scoring off at 8-0.
WP: Kershaw (6-5)
LP: Pelfrey (6-4)
Notes from Tuesday night
Kershaw Finding Comfort Away from Home
In his first four road outings of ’09, Clayton Kershaw went 0-3 with a 9.47 ERA.
In his last four starts he is 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA.
Thievery Masters Showdown
The Mets are third in the Majors and lead the National League with 79 stolen bases. The Dodgers are second with 73.
Finding a Groove
Russell Martin went 2-for-4 and is now batting .314 (17-for-54) in his last 17 games
Back In Familiar Territory
It was a homecoming affair for Dodgers manager Joe Torre and OF Manny Ramirez. Torre played for the Mets from 1975-77 and managed the team from ’77-’81. Manny grew up in Washington Heights.
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PJ Ross is a Featured Columnist for the Los Angeles Dodgers