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Clayton Kershaw gave up two solo home runs Friday — one in the first inning and a second in the sixth. Between the home runs, Kershaw retired 16 consecutive batters and the Los Angeles Dodgers led the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 after six innings.
Then in the seventh, the St. Louis Cardinals got to Kershaw to the tune of eight runs. It began with four straight singles and a run scored. With the bases loaded, Kershaw got a strikeout and promptly gave up a second RBI single.
Kershaw then recorded another strikeout and went to work against Matt Carpenter, only one out away from getting out of the jam and keeping the Dodgers ahead by three runs. Reminiscent of the at-bat he put together in Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS, Carpenter fouled off multiple pitches before clearing the bases with a double to the right-center field gap.
After Kershaw got the first out, manager Don Mattingly paid him a visit on the mound and left his ace in the game rather than call on a bullpen that at times was shaky during the regular season. Mattingly later called leaving Kershaw in the game an easy decision, but was it the right one?