Behind Carlos Frias, a slew of relievers, and Corey Seager and Chase Utley, the Los Angeles Dodgers snapped their four-game losing streak Wednesday night by clawing away until they pulled ahead late.
That set the stage for Thursday’s matinee affair in the four-game series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Clayton Kershaw was on the mound and the Dodgers were looking to further chip away at their magic number to clinch a third consecutive National League West division title.
Kershaw quickly worked his way through the first inning, collecting two strikeouts and retiring the side on an efficient eight pitches. However, the second frame saw three innocent base hits with no outs combine for a 1-0 Diamondbacks lead.
Arizona added to that on Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI single in the third, and they extended their lead to 3-0 behind Brandon Drury’s solo home run in the fourth. Kershaw bounced back to set the Diamondbacks down in order in the fifth, ending the quick inning by striking out Goldschmidt.
Although his ace had only thrown 80 pitches, albeit Kershaw appeared to labor through stretches on another sweltering afternoon in Los Angeles, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pinch-hit for the reigning NL MVP to leadoff the bottom of the fifth with his club chasing three runs.
Naturally, and has been the case in the past, the decision didn’t sit particularly well with Kershaw. While he has lobbied to remain in prior starts, Thursday’s outburst was caught on camera and set social media on fire.
The Dodgers wound up scoring six runs in the inning, aided in large part by a Chris Heisey grand slam, and Kershaw was credited with the win. Mattingly said after the game he didn’t take issue with Kershaw’s actions.