Dodgers-Marlins: Blue Crew Submerged by Marlins' Josh Johnson in 6-3 Loss

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Dodgers-Marlins: Blue Crew Submerged by Marlins' Josh Johnson in 6-3 Loss

Beneath the canopy of a magnificent Southern California sunset, two outstanding young pitchers dueled at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.

The Los Angeles Dodgers (61-35) put their dominant 21-year old Clayton Kershaw on the mound to square off with Florida Marlins (50-47) and their 25-year old Josh Johnson.

The visiting Marlins and Johnson were able to snap the Dodgers five-game winning streak in the first game of a three-game series with a 6-3 win.

After giving up just three earned runs in his past seven starts, Kershaw gave up three in six innings of work.

The southpaw Kershaw was able to throw a high percentage of first-pitch strikes (77 percent; 23/30 batters faced) but gave up a season-high nine base hits as Clayton had entered the game ranked first in the Majors in opponents average against (.193)

Kershaw earned a no decision but remained unbeaten in his past eight starts. He struck out six and, keeping true to form as the Major League leader in bases on balls, walked three hitters bringing his total to 63 this season. He also tossed 106 pitches, which is his third-most this season.

The native Texan displayed good stuff throughout the night and held the fish scoreless through four innings until a Wes Helms RBI double in the fifth.

Johnson, his 6’7” counterpart had electricity coming off the ball, as he regularly touches 98 mph on the gun.

He worked seven innings of five-hit baseball and the Dodgers managed three runs off of him, but he fanned four and walked none while lowering his season ERA to 2.80.

For a remarkable 17th consecutive start, Johnson allowed three runs or fewer. 

The first Dodgers run was tallied when Casey Blake tripled to begin the second and scored on a Johnson wild pitch.

The sixth inning began tied at 1-1 but it became a key point in the game as a couple of ugly plays hurt Kershaw and the Dodgers.

Kershaw threw a wild pitch that let Johnson plate the second Marlins run in the sixth and it also advanced Emilio Bonafacio to second.

The Marlins got another gift when Orlando Hudson made a throwing error to allow a second run to cross in the inning and extend the Florida lead to 3-1.

Hudson ran down a Wes Helms infield single in shallow center field to stop Bonafacio at third base. He faked a throw to first and then fired to third base but the ball skipped into the camera cutout next to the Dodgers' dugout.

Since the ball left the field of play, Bonafacio was awarded home plate.

Fortunately for Kershaw, the offense immediately bailed him in the bottom of the sixth by plating two runs and tying the game at three.

Rafael Furcal and Hudson led off the inning with back-to-back singles and after a Manny Ramirez ground out advanced the runners to second and third, Andre Ethier lined a two-RBI double just fair down the right field line.

The hit took Kershaw off the hook for the loss and put the Boys in Blue right back into the game; Ethier was the lone offensive highlight going 3-for-4 on the night.

The bullpen was unable to keep the team in the game when they allowed one run in the seventh and two in the eighth.

James McDonald worked just two-thirds of an inning in relief of Kershaw, but that was enough time for Jeremy Hermida to crack the go-ahead single to put the Marlins on top for good.

Ramon Troncoso came on in the eighth and looked very shaky. He hit two batters—after hitting just one the entire season—and was knocked for two runs on three hits.

Troncoso had not allowed an earned run in 15 games (17 IP) but Chris Coghlan belted a leadoff home run followed shortly after by a Jorge Cantu RBI single that put the Dodgers in a three-run hole, trailing 6-3.

The bullpen will have to show better toughness, as this was the first day of a 20-day stretch when the Dodgers play everyday. That span will include a road trip to St. Louis and Atlanta.

 

 

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WP:  Johnson (9-2)

LP:    McDonald (2-2)

 

Notes from Friday night

 

Couldn’t Keep a Hold on It

The Dodgers suffered a rare defeat when scoring the first run. LA is now 46-15 after jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the second but eventually losing 6-3.

 

Freaky Friday

The Dodgers fell to just 8-8 on Friday games this season. 

 

PJ Ross is a Featured Columnist for the Los Angeles Dodgers

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