After taking three of four from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Los Angeles Dodgers took traveled to Milwaukee for a three-game set against the Brewers, who held the second-best record in the National League; trailing only the Dodgers.
The Brewers won the first two games of the series, including beating former teammate Zack Greinke. With another loss on Sunday, it not only would have meant being swept by the Brewers, but the Dodgers also would have dropped into second place in the NL.
On the one hand, the Dodgers sent Clayton Kershaw to the mound, however they would be shorthanded offensively as Hanley Ramirez was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Kershaw struggled early and issued his first, first-inning walk this season.
The blemish came to Carlos Gomez, who later scored in the inning. Kershaw faced other trouble as the game wore on, but wound up holding the Brewers to the lone run over eight innings.
Following the win, A.J. Ellis credited the Dodger ace for getting through the game without his best control, according to ESPN’s Doug Padilla:
It was a battle all day long, which shows how special he is,” Ellis said. “He probably didn’t have his best stuff and he was fighting against himself and fighting against a hard team to play against. That’s one of the best offenses in the National League, for sure, and to see what he did tonight to get through eight and hold that team to one run, it’s a clinic on how to win when you don’t have close to your best stuff.”
Kershaw not only threw the eight innings, he scored a run in the third and added an RBI single in the eighth. The left-hander’s play of the day came in the fifth inning on an attempted squeeze to score the tying run from third that Kershaw made a diving catch on and completed a double play.
Kershaw’s versatility drew praise from Ellis:
That’s why he’s so great as a baseball player,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “Seventh or eighth inning, I look out there and I see the dirt all over him from diving and sliding on the bases. He’d have it no other way. This guy is a baseball player through and through.”
The win was Kershaw’s 14th of the season, which is tied for a Major League best and his 11th consecutive victory. The Dodgers now lead the San Francisco Giants by 4.5 games in the NL West standings and hold a 1.5-game lead over the Brewers as they open a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves on Monday.
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