Dodgers-Braves: LA Wastes Kershaw Gem, Late Rally Falls Short in 10 Innings

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Dodgers-Braves: LA Wastes Kershaw Gem, Late Rally Falls Short in 10 Innings

Clayton Kershaw and Kenshin Kawakami locked up in a dandy of a pitching duel on Saturday night under the bright lights of Chavez Ravine, but Kelly Johnson stole the headlines with a game-winning home run in the top of the 10th inning to lift the Atlanta Braves to a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Neither pitcher factored in the decision as both kept the opposing squad off the board, and each team’s bullpen held tight to send the game into extra innings in a scoreless tie.

Guillermo Mota came on to start the inning and walked Adam LaRoche with one out. LaRoche worked a brilliant at-bat, falling behind 0-2 but battling for 10 pitches before the walk.

Two batters later, Johnson lifted a two-run home run just over the wall in right field to break the tie and give the Braves a 2-0 lead and eventual win.

It was the first Braves hit since the fourth inning, a span that saw the visitors from Atlanta go 0-for-18.

The Dodgers responded in the 10th with a run of their own on an Andre Ethier two-out RBI double. After a Manny Ramirez intentional walk, Matt Kemp came to the plate with a chance to tie or even win the game.

Kemp slapped a ball up the middle and it appeared to be headed into centerfield, but shortstop Yunel Escobar made showed unbelievable range to his left and stopped the ball with a diving effort. He collected himself, stood, and threw on-time to get Kemp at first to end the game.

Kershaw, the 21-year old southpaw, stole the headline with 10 punch-outs and limiting the Braves (56-54) to just two hits in seven scoreless innings in another stellar outing for Dodgers (67-44).

He gave up a double to lead off the game to Ryan Church, the only Braves base runner to reach second base against Kershaw, and then retired 10 batters in a row before a Garrett Anderson single in the fourth.

After that, he ripped off nine consecutive outs before issuing his only walk on the evening to Yunel Escobar, who was eventually picked off first base to end the inning.

Kershaw now has an ERA of 1.06 (eight ER/67.2 IP) in his past 11 starts and lowered his season ERA to 2.73.

Kawakami matched the youngster pitch-for-pitch, throwing seven innings of shutout baseball against the National League leading Los Angeles Dodgers. He did have to work out of multiple jams to keep the goose egg on the scoreboard, however.

He was perfect the first time through the order before walking Rafael Furcal to leadoff the fourth. Kemp, who notched two of the four Dodgers hits against the six-time Japanese League All-Star, singled with two outs later in the inning to advance Furcal to second.

Both runners were stranded when Kawakami got James Loney to fly out to right field. Loney went 0-for-4 tonight and is now 1-for-19 in his past five games and is hitless in his past 13 at-bats.

The Dodgers appeared to have some momentum building in the bottom of the fifth when they started the inning with back-to-back singles, but that abruptly ended when the runners were put in motion on a 3-2 count to Brad Ausmus.

The veteran catcher swung and missed, hanging Orlando Hudson out to dry heading to third. After a short rundown, Hudson was tagged out and Tony Abreu moved up to second base, but Kershaw struck out to end the inning.

Once again in the seventh Los Angeles put the leadoff man on base when Kemp singled to left field, then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher.

Loney then continued his struggles with a ground out and Kawakami walked both Hudson and Abreu to load the bases.

But the Dodgers came up empty for a third time against the crafty right-hander when Ausmus and pinch-hitter Mark Loretta struck out to leave the bases loaded.

Ronald Belisario returned to action for the first time since missing 28 games with a right elbow strain. He relieved Kershaw to start the eighth and induced two groundouts before giving up a walk, but didn’t allow a run in two-thirds of an inning pitched.

The final out of the inning came when George Sherrill entered. He too walked a batter, giving the Braves a runner at second base for just the second time on the night.

Church bounced a ball to the right of the shortstop Furcal, who was stumbling and had no chance of throwing out Church at first. Furcal made an outstanding play by throwing to Abreu at third, where he tagged out Johnson on the leg because Johnson never slid into the bag.

Belisario, Sherrill, and Jonathan Broxton combined to throw just 18 pitches in the eighth and ninth inning to hold the shutout and send the game into extra frames.

Guillermo Mota took over in the 10th but had little to add after the gem of a performance the staff turned in prior to his entrance. He gave up the two-out, go-ahead home run to Johnson, who also homered last night in the Braves victory.

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

R

H

E

ATL

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

3

1

LAD

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

6

0


WP: Medlen (3-3)


LP: Mota (3-3)


SV: Soriano (17)



Notes from Saturday night


That’s Different

The Dodgers (67-43) took the field tonight without possession of the best record in the Majors for the first time since May 2, when they were 16-8 and one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

They entered tonight 0.5 games behind the New York Yankees (67-42) but still held the best record in the National League.



Schmidt Done for Good?

Los Angeles recalled Tony Abreu, who started at third base tonight, from triple-A Albuquerque yesterday.

They sent down Jason Schmidt to make room after he aggravated a long-time shoulder strain, an injury that might end the career of the 36-year old right-hander.

 

PJ Ross is a Featured Columnist for the Los Angeles Dodgers

Load More Stories

Follow Los Angeles Dodgers from B/R on Facebook

Follow Los Angeles Dodgers from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Los Angeles Dodgers

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.