Clayton Kershaw’s 30th pitch of the first inning Sunday was a laser that on first glance looked too high and too inside to prevent him from walking in a run and unleashing another torrent of dread for the Dodgers. But home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman called it a strike, and on replay it appeared it was the right call.
Another right call: Having faith in Kershaw, who went from the tightrope to the autobahn in the Dodgers’ 2-0 victory over Colorado and Ubaldo Jimenez.
After loading the bases in the first on a single and two walks, Kershaw allowed only two more baserunners in his next seven scoreless innings, striking out nine. The Rockies didn’t once hit the ball to the outfield, as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. notes, until an eighth-inning flyout by Clint Barmes. Kershaw didn’t get first-pitch strikes on about half the batters he faced, but Colorado still couldn’t figure him out.
Kershaw’s shutout ball enabled the Dodgers to outlast Jimenez, who had thrown 104 pitches through seven innings and presumably could have continued if he hadn’t been pinch-hit for with one out in the top of the eighth. Russell Martin took advantage of the Rockies’ move to reliever Matt Daley with a hard home run to left. That run provided some comfort when a 50-foot single by Ryan Spilborghs in the ninth inning put runners on first and second against Jonathan Broxton. Ian Stewart swung at the next pitch, a fastball clocked at 95, but got under it, leaving Andre Ethier to stock the can of corn on the shelf and let the Dodgers come home victorious.
Ethier, of all people, struck out in all three of his at-bats against Jimenez, but the Dodgers for once won without his contributions.
The Dodgers’ first run of the game was brought home by Blake DeWitt, who had his sixth double in his past 12 games after having no extra-base hits in his first 14 games.
Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more on the game.
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Wild one in Albuquerque on Sunday. James McDonald started and allowed two runs over his first six innings, striking out six, then was pulled after allowing a walk and two singles to start the seventh. Jon Link relieved and allowed one inherited run to score while being charged with five others. The Isotopes still won, 15-12, thanks in part to a 4-for-4 (plus a walk) day from Chin-Lung Hu and a triple and homer from Jamie Hoffmann. Hu’s OPS crossed the .600 threshold and now sits at .618.
It is widely expected that John Ely will be recalled from Albuquerque to start Tuesday’s game. After being sent down Friday, the Dodgers needed to place a pitcher on the disabled list to allow Ely’s recall inside of 10 days. Sunday, the Dodgers began making a public case that Charlie Haeger has right heel problems. You do the math.