Clayton Kershaw flashes his 2014 form in Dodgers’ win over Atlanta Braves

first_imgGonzalez had been sitting on 999 career runs batted in for all of 24 hours when he belted a home run to left-center field. The two-run blast gave the Dodgers an 8-0 lead and gave Gonzalez 1,001 career RBIs. The veteran first baseman obliged the standing crowd of 40,667 with a curtain call on the top step of the Dodgers’ dugout. “That was cool,” Gonzalez said.In 44 games this season, the veteran first baseman has 10 home runs and 35 RBIs to go with a .344 batting average. Gonzalez hit eight home runs in April and has two in May. All along, Gonzalez insisted he was “not a home run hitter.” Even Tuesday, he said he was merely trying to take a line drive to the opposite field against Teheran.“That was a line drive,” he said. “It just carried enough.”The Braves are a middling 22-23, a team the Dodgers are expected to beat. Maybe it isn’t surprising that they have scored 14 runs in their last two games – more than in their previous eight games combined.Tuesday, they did it with just one home run, a change of pace for a club that’s hit an NL-leading 60 homers this season.“I don’t know what we’re going to end up being,” manager Don Mattingly said, “but we’re pretty good at battling.”The sixth-inning rally began when Howie Kendrick lined a double to left-center field to drive in Jimmy Rollins. RBI hits by Justin Turner, Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis and finally Kershaw himself ran up the score to 6-0.Maybe the long inning took its toll on Kershaw’s concentration, or maybe the Braves were simply due. Nick Markakis led off the fifth inning with a single to left field, ending Kershaw’s quest for a perfect game and a no-hitter.“You never want to take your foot off the gas, but when you have six or seven runs you definitely have more margin for error,” Kershaw said. “You don’t want to walk guys. You don’t want to give guys easy outs. You don’t want your defense to be out there for a long time. So just be aggressive. Attack, attack, attack and see what happens.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error In all the ways that matter to the 2015 Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw did not need to beat the Atlanta Braves the way he did Tuesday.Kershaw took a perfect game into the fifth inning of the Dodgers’ 8-0 win. He didn’t walk anyone in seven innings while striking out 10. For the first time all season, he left a game without allowing a run. In short, he looked like the same pitcher who won the National League MVP and Cy Young awards in 2014. But the Dodgers were already in first place before Tuesday. Their starting rotation might not have had its ace, or Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, but the club has a 28-17 record that ranks second only to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL.Kershaw’s performance Tuesday mattered more to those who questioned “what happened” to the Kershaw of years past.center_img To them, Kershaw said, “I guess I’m indifferent.” “I don’t really care, I guess,” he continued. “I’m just trying to win, trying to pitch. People are going to have opinions, I guess. People have high expectations for me too, which is great. At the end of the day I only care about what my teammates and coaches think. If they see something they want to tell me, great, but if anybody else does I don’t really care.”“That’s the Kershaw we know,” Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. “We know what Kershaw is and what he’s going to bring every day.”The run support hasn’t always been there recently – for Kershaw or any Dodgers pitcher. Tuesday, a six-run fourth inning against Braves starter Julio Teheran (4-2) helped Kershaw even his record at 3-3. Every Dodgers starter – including Kershaw – had a hit. The Dodgers collected 11 hits as a team, including Gonzalez’s 10th home run of the season.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *