Clayton Kershaw turned in another MVP-worthy performance Tuesday night as he struck out eight in eight innings against the Washington Nationals.
Along with shutting down the Nationals, Kershaw started a rally for the Dodgers with his leadoff single in the fifth inning. The Dodger ace then went first to third on Dee Gordon’s chopper up the middle.
The Dodgers wound up scoring two runs in the inning and never relinquished the lead. While Kershaw’s aggressive baserunning sparked the Dodgers, he acknowledged it may not have been the best decision, via the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett:
I don’t know what I was thinking there,” Kershaw said. “I don’t get that opportunity much. He’s got a really good arm in center field. Probably a dumb play looking back on it. But it worked out.”
While Kershaw admitted some regret in going first to third and appeared winded after the sequence, he also pointed to finding a balance between easing up and doing what’s necessary to win a game:
You play once every five days. I don’t really think running the bases is going to wear me out,” he said. “There are times (when you take it easy) like if there’s two outs and you hit a ball right back to the pitcher. But it might help you win a game like it did tonight.”
Kershaw’s time on the basepaths didn’t have much of an impact on his pitching as he retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced. The southpaw did allow a solo home run to Bryce Harper, who sat on a first pitch fastball and deposited it over the right-center field fence.
The win was Kershaw’s 17th win of the season, which leads the Majors and he lowered his MLB-best ERA to 1.70.
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