Clayton Kershaw was not only one bad pitch from not allowing a run Monday night, he was also one bad play from not receiving a win. The Los Angeles Dodgers scored five runs of the unearned variety in the bottom of the sixth inning to steal a 5-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
Through the first three innings of the game, only forty minutes long, it looked like a quick pitcher’s duel was shaping up. Kershaw had only thrown 21 pitches (17 strikes) with three strikeouts while Jose Quintana was also effective for the Sox.
After issuing a one-out single to Gordon Beckham, Kershaw hung an 0-1 slider to Jose Abreu. The Sox first baseman, freshly activated from the disabled list, deposited the ball over the wall in left to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.
Quintana had breezed through the first five innings with only 65 pitches allowing just two singles and a walk to Dodger hitters. The sixth would be a completely different story as the left-hander needed 40 pitches to get out of the disastrous inning.
Kershaw himself started the sixth with a single but the fun started two batters later when Matt Kemp hit a ground ball to second that went under the glove of Beckham into center field. With only one out the Dodgers would now have the middle of the lineup coming up with runners at first and second.
It looked like Quintana would get out of the jam after striking out Yasiel Puig and inducing a ground ball off the bat of Hanley Ramirez. Instead of stepping on third for the final out, third baseman Conor Gillaspie elected to make the long throw to first.
The throw would come on a bounce and get by Abreu at first allowing Kershaw to come around and score. Adrian Gonzalez grounded the next pitch up the middle for an infield single bringing in Kemp to tie the game at 2-2.
Two batters later, following a Scott Van Slyke walk, Justin Turner hit a soft pop up that landed in shallow center for two more runs. The rally was capped off by a Drew Butera RBI single to put the Dodgers on top 5-2.
Quintana took the tough luck loss without surrendering an earned run. The last time a pitcher gave up five or more runs without a single earned was Mike Dunn in August of 2012.
Over eight solid innings, Kershaw struck out nine on the night without a walk for the third time this season. It was the 10th time in his young career that Kershaw has struck out at least nine without a walk. The 26-year-old only trails Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale who each accomplished that feat 11 times.
Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth to nail down his 17th save of the season to tie Francisco Rodriguez, Sergio Romo, and Huston Street for the major league lead.
WP: Clayton Kershaw (4-2, 3.32)
LP: Jose Quintana (3-5, 3.31)
S: Kenley Jansen (17)