ATLANTA (AP) — Clayton Kershaw didn’t have his best stuff. Even tried a blooper pitch.
Not that it made much difference.
Kershaw limited the Atlanta Braves to one run over eight innings despite giving up 10 hits, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled out a 2-1 victory Thursday on Yasmani Grandal’s RBI double in the 10th.
“Weird day,” Kershaw said. “It was a grind, for sure.”
Enrique Hernandez singled with one out against Alexi Ogando (1-1) and came around to score on Grandal’s shot off the center-field wall. Chris Hatcher (2-1) worked a scoreless ninth before Kenley Jansen earned his seventh save.
Coming off his first career save, Matt Wisler allowed just four hits in 6 2-3 innings for the Braves, actually outpitching the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner.
“He went pitch for pitch with one of the premier pitchers of our era,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Both teams scored in the first. Then, it was nothing but a string of zeroes until Grandal gave the Dodgers their second straight extra-inning win over the Braves.
Kershaw came in with a 1.64 ERA, signaling the start of another overpowering season. This was a bit of a hiccup, marking only the fourth time in 246 career starts that he’s given up double-figure hits, though he did strike out 10.
He let loose something new to Tyler Flowers in the fourth, the looping pitch clocked at a mere 46 mph and bouncing in for a ball. Kershaw came back to strike him out.
Kershaw said he noticed Flowers taking his time in the batter’s box and wanted to quick pitch him with a fastball down the middle. But then he saw Flowers get ready in a hurry and wanted to avoid grooving the first pitch.
So he improvised.
“Kind of lobbed it up there,” Kershaw said.
Over his first three starts of the season, the left-hander surrendered a total of 10 hits in 22 innings.
“It’s just a little in-between right now,” Kershaw said. “But at least I know I can still do it. It’s in there.”
The lowly Braves had plenty of chances, most notably squandering a base-loaded opportunity in the second when Mallex Smith struck out and Wisler grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“You can see why he is what he is,” Gonzalez said, referring to Kershaw. “When guys get on base, he elevates his game. The miles per hour on his fastball goes up. His breaking ball gets better.”
Kershaw was thrown out at the plate to end the seventh, denying the Dodgers a chance to pull ahead. The Dodgers challenged the call, which was upheld after a 4 1-2-minute video review.
“It’s my first time to be thrown out at the plate, I think,” Kershaw said.
The Dodgers jumped ahead in the first off a throwing error by third baseman Adonis Garcia, who sailed it high and wide of first after fielding Corey Seager’s grounder. Seager stole second and came home on Joc Pederson’s two-out single.
Atlanta quickly tied it up in the bottom half. Erick Aybar led off with a double down the left-field line, and Daniel Castro followed with another double to center field, the ball just out of reach of a lunging Pederson. Castro tried to stretch it into a triple, but he was thrown out at third.
The Braves challenged, believing Castro got a foot on the bag ahead of the tag. That call also was upheld on review.
News & Notes:
RHP Pedro Baez underwent the concussion protocol after being struck in the back of the head by a ball while teammate Adam Liberatore was warming up in the bullpen during Wednesday night’s game. “He feels much better today,” manager Dave Roberts said. … OF Carl Crawford (lower back irritation) will be rejoining the team Monday after an injury rehab stint in the minors.
LHP Scott Kazmir (1-1, 6.43 ERA) will face Colorado on Friday to start a three-game series. His won his only career start against the Rockies in 2007
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