Tuesday night’s match up between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs sent a pair of 2013 All-Star left-handers to the mound: Clayton Kershaw and Travis Wood. It was Wood who prevailed, as the Cubs dispatched the Dodgers 3-2 in front of a sellout Dodger Stadium crowd.
Kershaw, carrying a sixteen-inning scoreless streak into the start, allowed a one-out single off the bat of Darwin Barney and an eight-pitch walk to Dioner Navarro in the first. Kershaw recovered to strike out Donnie Murphy and Junior Lake to neutralize the threat and run his scoreless streak to seventeen.
The Dodgers went quietly against Wood in the first, save for a Yasiel Puig infield single.
Kershaw needed only ten pitches to retire the Cubs in the second, the last out coming on a marvelous running catch by Andre Ethier, who ventured far into the left-center gap to snare a line drive hit by Cole Gillespie.
Wood (a .255-hitting pitcher in 54 PA’s this season) led off the third with a first-pitch single to left. One out later, Darwin Barney reached first on catcher’s interference, charged as an error on A.J. Ellis. With runners on first and second and one out, Dioner Navarro smacked an RBI single to left-center, scoring Wood and ending Kershaw’s scoreless streak at 18 1/3 IP.
Kershaw limited the damage to one unearned run, striking out Murphy and Lake with runners on the corners to end the inning with the Cubs only up 1-0.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Puig clubbed a single to left field. He broke for second on the next pitch to Adrian Gonzalez, which sailed past Navarro to the backstop (ruled a stolen base for Puig). With the tying run in scoring position, however, Gonzalez grounded out to second to end the inning.
Hanley Ramirez cracked a leadoff single in the fourth and advanced to second on a deep fly to center off the bat of Mark Ellis. Wood then walked Ethier to bring up Uribe, who struck out on a wild pitch, advancing runners to second and third with two outs for A.J. Ellis. Chicago intentionally walked Ellis, loading the bases for Kershaw – who struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the threat.
An infield single by Cody Ransom (off Kershaw’s leg) and a walk to Darnell McDonald put the Cubs in business in the sixth. With Brian Wilson warming in the Dodgers’ bullpen and Kershaw nearing 100 pitches, Gillespie struck out – but the pitch bounced away from Ellis, advancing Ransom to third.
Kershaw struck out Wood before Castro delivered the knockout blow, lining an RBI single to left and increasing the Cubs’ lead to 2-0 (charging Kershaw with an earned run). Brian Wilson came in and retired Barney on a fielder’s choice to end the inning and confirm Kershaw’s final line: 5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 9 K.
Hanley Ramirez led off the bottom of the sixth with a bloop single and advanced to second on a one-out throwing error by Wood, who airmailed Ransom at first on the pickoff attempt. After Ethier fouled out, Juan Uribe lined an RBI single to right, closing the gap a bit at 2-1 Cubs. A.J. Ellis popped to first to end the inning.
Ronald Belisario came in for the seventh and got into trouble: Navarro singled to center and Murphy hit a hard liner that deflected off Belisario, careening through the left side of the infield for a single. A hit batter later, Bogusevic batted with the bases loaded and bounced into a 6-4-3 double play for two quick outs (scoring Navarro). Cole Gillespie hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning with the Cubs only managing one run.
Wood continued dealing in his half of the seventh, retiring Nick Punto, Crawford and Puig in order with little resistance to end with a line of 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 6 K.
Pedro Strop took over for Wood in the bottom of the eighth. After Gonzalez struck out, Hanley bounced a single into right field and Mark Ellis was hit by a Strop fastball, bringing up Ethier – who drove Ramirez home with an RBI single to center, bringing L.A. closer at 3-2. Pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and keep the score at 3-2.
Carlos Marmol got into some trouble in the ninth but Paco Rodriguez escaped the inning without any damage, keeping the Dodgers’ deficit at just one.
In the bottom of the ninth against Cubs closer Kevin Gregg, A.J. Ellis popped out and Nick Punto flew to left for two quick outs. With the Dodgers down to their last out, Carl Crawford walked – bringing up Puig with the chance to do something rather dramatic.
He lunged at the first pitch, however, popping out on the infield to end the game and wrap up the Cubs’ 3-2 victory.
Mattingly’s postgame take on Kershaw’s outing:
“That wasn’t what we’d call ‘typical Clayton’ tonight. He wasn’t the sharpest that he’s been.”
On the Dodgers’ struggles against Wood:
“He made his pitches. We kept whittling away but couldn’t break through against him”.
Kershaw, on his performance:
“It was just a battle. I didn’t have great stuff tonight”.
Los Angeles will regroup and head back out on the field tomorrow for a 12:10 series finale pitting Edwin Jackson (7-13, 5.00 ERA) against Ricky Nolasco (10-9, 3.42 ERA).
- Before the game, manager Don Mattingly said that Matt Kemp ‘felt good’ on Tuesday and will continue running on Wednesday. Mattingly wasn’t sure when Kemp could think about rehabbing, but it seems like it’ll happen soon (for more, click here).