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Pederson and Baez Come Up Clutch as Kershaw Picks Up His First 2019 Win

The day at Dodger Stadium opened with a lovely ceremony honoring Don Newcombe as the inaugural member of the “Legends of Dodger Baseball.”

Onto the game, Clayton Kershaw toed the rubber for the Dodgers against the Pittsburgh Pirates seeking his first win of the 2019 campaign.

This new Kershaw continued his path toward becoming a “crafty lefty” as he recorded 8 Ks while averaging 90mph on his fastball. With those 8 Ks (and no walks allowed), he moved his way up MLB’s all-time strikeout list.

A couple of familiar names indeed.

Kershaw finished his night allowing 1 run over 7 impressive innings pitched. I’m quite fine with this version of Clayton Kershaw.

Where the game mattered

In the bottom of the 7th, Max Muncy got the rally started with a leadoff single, his second hit of the night. Alex Verdugo did that thing he does where all he does is hit and poked a single to right.

The much maligned Chris Taylor came up to the plate with an opportunity to put the Dodgers on the board, and get Kershaw off the hook for the potential L.

In a wild series of events that involved a “challenge flag” by the Pirates, Taylor popped a sac fly to right fielder Melky Cabrera. With Muncy tagging on the play, he incidentally clipped Pirates’ catcher (and former future Dodger) Francisco Cervelli with his elbow, which left Cervelli shaken, but not stirred. The challenge was to review the home plate collision rule — Buster Posey rule — which in and of itself is a huge gray area of a rule.

With Muncy ruled safe, the Dodgers tied up the game 1-1. On the sac fly and throw, Alex Verdugo advanced to second base.

Next up, Austin Barnes grounded out to the Pirates rookie shortstop who was distracted by Verdugo, who paused and advanced to third on a throw that 1B Josh Bell dropped. With runners on the corner and 1 out, Kiké Hernandez pinch hit for Kershaw but struck out.

With two outs, Pirates’ manager chose to stick with his right handed starter against Joc Pederson, who made him pay.

Go ahead, 2-run triple. That’ll play, Joc. Seager struck out swinging to end the inning.

Pedro. F. Baez

Caleb Ferguson was brought in to start the 8th inning, but immediately loaded the bases on 2 walks and a single. Ferguson has been missing his spots by a fair margin of late… just something to keep an eye on.

Dave Roberts came to get the ball from Ferg and brought Pedro Baez into quite a predicament.

Baez began a sequence that should go down as one of the absolute best performances in Dodgers history… on a April 27th… in 2019.

In truly inspiring fashion, Baez retired all 3 batters he faced in order, punctuated by a strikeout.

After the game, Joc spoke on the effort of Pedro Baez:

Great job, Petey.

Finishing it off

After a scoreless bottom of the 8th, Kenley Jansen retired the side in order on 11 pitches. While he recorded no strikeouts, he made short work of the Pirates in a nice bounce back effort.

With the victory, the Dodgers move to 18-11, best in the National League. It marked the first home win without a Dodger having hit a homerun in 33 games.

Kershaw picked up the win, his first regular season win since September 24, 2018.

Final: LAD 3 – PIT 1, W: Kershaw (1), L: Musgrove (2), Sv: Jansen (9)

Next up

The Dodgers look to sweep the series — and the short home stand — as they send Rich Hill out for his 2019 debut vs the Pirates right hander Trever Williams.

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Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream. He is also 1/2 of the occasional "Clint and Clint #DNpregame" show.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

Go bug him on the Twitter machine for funsies.

11 Comments

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  1. I have been one of Pedro Baez’s harshest critics so it’s only fair………..When Ferguson came in and walked the Dodgers into trouble as soon as he hit the hill last nite, I was more than annoyed……….then when Dave turned to Baez instead of say, Florio or Urias, I prepared for the worst and gnashed my teeth all the way down………after he (Baez) mowed the Pirates down and wriggled out of that bases loaded no out mess……….I was impressed and very happy to be wrong. Nice move Dave, nice job Petey and yea……..I need to learn to chill when it comes to Baez. It’s going to be a process!

    • That was Huge of Baez, bases-loaded, nobody out, to get out of the innning Not allowing any runs to score! When I watching the game and Ferguson loaded the bases, I was thinking the Dodgers will Lose the game especially with Baez pitching. Way to Step-up Baez, hope this is the norm and Not an anomaly!

      • Hi Robin………AMEN!………It was something special to watch him do that and coming from BAEZ????, it was totally unexpected. I was so impressed by what he did I had to rubs my eyes to make sure I was not seeing things! And then Baez had this to say after the game……..“You kind of have to block them out, whether it’s going well or not going so well, especially in situations like that. “They’re fans. They’re going to think what they want.”…………..Someone needs to tell Baez, in Spanish, that if he didn’t come into games then immediately start walking hitters, giving up base hits and blowing leads, we as fans wouldn’t be so negative about him. It’s really very simple………he seems to think it’s us just being stupid because we are “fans”.

    • Honestly, you share the feelings of much of Dodgers fandom! What Baez did for this game was amazing feat, and hopefully cements the turning point he had started to hit last season. We want to believe, Pedro!!

  2. What was becoming a ho-hum game had the excitement of post season, as Baez took down the next three batters, one by one. What a roar after the third. “All we need is six out and the game is ours.” Then Ferguson gives us three runners, zero outs. “Oh, well. We got the Newcombe bobble-head, saw a nice Newcombe presentation and had a few dogs.” was my thinking. To take down the next three batters was incredible.

  3. Just imagine what would have happened if the ball misjudged by Turner had been with 2 outs instead of 1. Runners would have been moving and 2 runs would have scored and a tied ballgame.

  4. Pedro, Pedro, Pedro!!!! Although much of the previous criticism has been (painfully) justified, Baez stepped up BIG TIME last night. No one, including myself, honestly believed that he would come in with the bases loaded/ NO OUTS and not allow a single run to score. But he did and I have nothing but respect for his performance. It was absolutely stellar, if not unimaginable. Did you check out that grin from the dug-out? Good for Pedro, the team and Dodgers’ fans!

  5. Hopefully Joc has a good game again today but unfortunately, when Dodgers go to SF for the next 3 games, I would bet they will face 3 LHP so we ALL know that means Joc sits. Believe me, don’t think for a minute that the Giants were not paying attention to that recently concluded Dodger/Cub series, where the weakness against LHP was exposed big time.

    • I think if there was only one out, you wouldn’t have seen that “misjudgement” by Turner.

  6. Kershaw: such a gifted man, first act: raw talent and now comes the second act: intelligence….that’s good for more than the life of his current extension. HOF unanimous on first ballot will be his final act.

  7. Nice to see the team battling back this Sunday afternoon!!!! Belles, Max, and Corey doing a nice job thus far. Score currently tied at 5-5. Hill has gotten sharper as the game as gone on. Has anyone heard anything about the whereabouts of Mr. Toles? Go Blue!!

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