With the dominating numbers Kansas City Royals starter Danny Duffy possesses against left-handed hitters, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly used a lineup that was heavy on right-handed batters.
Batting in the leadoff spot, Justin Turner began the game with an 11-pitch at-bat that ended with a triple to center. Turner later scored on a fielder’s choice hit by Adrian Gonzalez and the Dodgers jumped out ahead 1-0 headed to the bottom of the first.
Clayton Kershaw took the mound for the first time since throwing a no-hitter and struck out the first batter he faced. Eric Hosmer followed with a one-out single, but it was wasted as Kershaw got Billy Butler to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Gonzalez led off the top of the fourth by hitting a hanging slider past the diving Alcides Escobar. However, Gonzalez was quickly erased as he was caught stealing in what may have been a botched hit-and-run with Scott Van Slyke at the plate.
The Royals would struggle to have any success against Kershaw, who retired seven batters in a row. Hosmer ended the streak in the bottom of the fourth with a single up the middle for his second hit of the game.
Despite the single, Kershaw came back to strikeout Butler by fooling the designated hitter on a change-up inside. Alex Gordon drew a two-out walk, which brought up Salvador Perez. Kershaw got out of the inning with some help from Turner, who made a backhanded stop on Perez’s grounder.
Duffy continued to pitch well, getting Carlos Triunfel to pop out to Hosmer in foul territory making him the fifth consecutive Dodger retired. That streak came to an end as Duffy walked the next batter.
The Royals left-hander struck out Turner then walked Kemp to put two on with two outs. Duffy ended the threat by getting Puig to ground out.
Butler hit a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth inning after Kershaw retired Cain and Hosmer in order. Alex Gordon would work ahead in the count 3-0, but eventually swung through a sweeping slider for Kershaw’s seventh strikeout of the game and ending the inning.
Reliever Aaron Crow came on in the seventh after the left-hander threw six strong innings only giving up one run. Crow retired Jamie Romak, Triunfel and Rojas in order.
Kershaw gave up back-to-back singles in the bottom of the seventh to second baseman Omar Infante and third baseman Valencia. Justin Maxwell followed with a chopper to Turner, who threw to Rojas at second for a force out.
Rojas then made a nice play on a chopper up the middle to save the shutout and help Kershaw get out of the inning unscathed.
After Kershaw retired the Royals in order in the eighth, the Dodgers added an insurance run in the ninth on an Andre Ethier pinch-hit single that snuck under Escobar’s glove and scored Gonzalez to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
Kenley Jansen took over in the ninth and earned his third consecutive save after blowing one against the San Diego Padres.
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