Dodgers win

first_imgThey did nothing to improve those rankings.But Kershaw did walk a batter (gasp) – only his sixth in 92 2/3 innings this season.He was called for a balk – by first base umpire Joe West (ah, that explains it) – and was visibly upset. Lip readers with Time Warner Cable (a limited audience, admittedly) could see Kershaw telling West it was “not even close” to a balk.And, he not only hit a batter but it was the opposing pitcher leading off the sixth inning. It was the first time in his career Kershaw has hit an opposing pitcher with a pitch and led to a 27-pitch workout to get through his final inning.“That was Doc’s decision,” Kershaw said of being pulled by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after the wearying inning. “He obviously saw the sixth. It wasn’t very good regardless of fatigue or not. It wasn’t very good. He obviously saw that.”Maybe Kershaw had spent some of his strength lifting the Dodgers’ offense. On a night when the Dodgers managed just six hits, Kershaw beat out an infield single in the third inning for one of them and came around to score on Justin Turner’s two-out RBI single.That was all the scoring until the Dodgers pushed across three more runs in the eighth inning. By then, the Dodgers’ bullpen had been left with an uncommonly-heavy load to carry on Kershaw’s day. Dodgers relievers Joe Blanton, Pedro Baez and Jansen closed it out – but not without some drama.Jansen walked the first batter he faced in the ninth inning and was so disgusted with himself that he rolled the ball into the dugout while calling for a new ball. Freddie Freeman was advanced to second on the play and Jansen had to strike out Nick Markakis and Tyler Flowers to strand him at third and preserve the shutout.“I just got pissed, man,” Jansen said. “I should never walk the leadoff guy. That’s unacceptable and I just lost my composure.” The Dodgers aimed an elephant gun at an ant. But never really pulled the trigger.Clayton Kershaw didn’t need to be at his best to beat the Atlanta Braves – and he wasn’t. But he still pitched six scoreless innings and scored the first run in a 4-0 victory over the Braves Saturday night.In the most telling set of numbers defining the Dodgers’ season to date, they are now 11-1 when Kershaw starts – 19-26 when he doesn’t.But the six innings of work Saturday night was his shortest start of the season and his four strikeouts were also a season-low for the major-league leader. “He’s a human guy. He’s not a robot,” Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said. “I know he doesn’t like that. I know he doesn’t think that’s acceptable. But when he is human, we have to pick him up.”The Dodgers’ bullpen did that, completing the combined shutout with three scoreless innings – a favor Kershaw doesn’t like to ask.“I wasn’t great tonight,” he said. “Physically I felt fine but the ball wasn’t coming out great. It was just one of those nights where it’s kind of a grind.“Six innings … is not acceptable. I’ll take it for tonight. But I don’t ever want leave three innings for the bullpen.”The Braves seemed perfect foils for Kershaw to muscle up and finish what he started. The last-place Braves also rank last in the majors in runs scored, home runs, batting average and OPS.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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