Hiroki Kuroda, who had never allowed more than two home runs in a game in his major-league career, somehow served up three in the first inning today in Washington and four total in the Dodgers’ 7-2 loss to the Nationals.
Leadoff hitter Ian Desmond homered on Kuroda’s fourth pitch, and after Rick Ankiel singled, Ryan Zimmerman flied deep to left, setting the stage for back-to-back jacks by Michael Morse and Jayson Werth.
Morse later hit another home run in the sixth inning off Kuroda, who struck out nine and walked none (Dodger starting pitchers have 21 strikeouts since their last walk) but ended up allowing six extra-base hits.
Jamey Carroll and Matt Kemp hit consecutive doubles in the first inning for the Dodgers for a 1-0 lead, but that was it for the Los Angeles scoring until the ninth. Today’s spotlight player, A.J. Ellis, had a single and a double, coming around to score after the latter with two out in the ninth on Justin Sellers’ double.
More from Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.:
… Per the Prime Ticket broadcast, the last time the Dodgers allowed three home runs in the first inning was June 25, 1988 in Cincinnati against the Reds. Fernando Valenzuela was pulled with two outs in the opening frame after allowing four runs on those three taters, hit by Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, and Paul O’Neill. The Dodgers did come back to win that game, 6-4.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers could not repeat that comeback performance on Monday.
According to MLB Gameday, Kuroda threw six sliders in the first inning. Two were hit out of the park, two more were hit for singles, and two were out of the strike zone. Kuroda was able to settle down after that shaky first, retiring 13 of 14 batters at one point. Between the second and fifth innings he threw only five sliders, and all were out of the strike zone.
Kuroda tried another slider in the sixth inning, and Morse took him deep for his second home run of the game. In his six innings of work, Kuroda threw 13 total sliders. Eight were called balls, three were deposited in the seats, and two more were hit for singles. It’s safe to say Kuroda didn’t have command of that pitch on Labor Day.
The last Dodgers pitcher to allow four home runs in a game was D.J. Houlton on August 29, 2005. In fact, in the last 34 years only 14 Dodgers have allowed four circuit clouts in one contest, including Kuroda today. …