Loney, Dodgers Walk To Victory
Kershaw K's 13; LA Wins 4 Straight
Clayton Kershaw became the youngest Los Angeles Dodger to strike out as many as 13 batters Wednesday night as LA beat the Giants, 5-4, in the second game of their three-game series at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers, winners of four straight and tied for first with San Diego in the West at 6-3, also captured the Series opener, 11-1. The series concludes Thursday night with Barry Zito (0-1, 9.00) facing Eric Stults (1-0, 1.69).
Kershaw, a 21-year-old lefty, amassed his strikeout total in seven innings. He left with a one-run lead and watched as Hong-Chih Kuo and Ronald Belisario failed to protect the slim margin, Belisario allowing a three-run homer to Aaron Rowland in the eighth. Down 4-2, the Dodgers battled back for a run in the eighth and two in the ninth, the last of which came across on a game winning, bases-loaded walk with one out to James Loney. Ironically, Loney also walked with the bases loaded in the first.
Kershaw, who lowered his ERA to 1.50 despite not having complete command of his changeup, was just as overpowering as his stats indicated. He allowed just one hit (a solo homer by catcher Benjie Molina in the second) and walked one. “What I liked today was he didn’t have his best stuff but he kept his composure and when he got excited, he stepped off the mound to gather himself,” catcher Russell Martin said of Kershaw on the Dodger website. “I saw him grow a little today and it was nice to see. His fastball was overpowering and around the zone and the curveball was nice today. He got a lot of swings and misses. If he’s got two of the three (pitches), he’s ok.”
The Dodgers out hit the Giants, 13-4, led by Orlando Hudson (three singles), a double and single by Matt Kemp, two singles each by Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier and a solo homer by Casey Blake. Loney had three RBI. Like the Giants, the Dodgers caused most of their damage off relievers by collecting three runs on six hits over the last 2 1/3 innings against Jeremy Affeldt, Bob Howry and Brian Wilson. Wilson gave up the game-winning walk.
In the Dodger home opener Monday, Ethier homered twice and drove in four runs, Hudson went four-for-five including a homer and triple, and Furcal, Hudson, and Martin each had two RBI to pace LA’s 11-1 win. Chad Billingsley allowed one run and five hits over seven innings to improve to 2-0. A six-run fourth clinched the victory.
Dodger Chatter: Sandy Koufax is the youngest Dodger of all to strike out at least 13, fanning 14 Reds at the age of 19 in 1955 as a Brooklyn Dodger. The record-setting performance came in Koufax’s second major league start. Matt Kemp ranks 10 th in league batting with a .400 average and Hudson is 16 th with .368. Wednesday’s game was Belisario’s first blown save of the season. Although Hiroki Kuroda, LA’s opening-day hurler, was eligible to return to action Wednesday, he will not be getting off the disabled list in the near future. He is still being bothered by a strained stomach muscle. “They (oblique muscle strains) are notorious for coming back,” Dodger Trainer Stan Conte said on the Dodger website. He added these strains can linger for months if one is not extremely cautious.
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