Clayton Kershaw hadn't allowed a run in his first two starts (16 innings). Patrick Corbin faced the Dodgers twice last year, and allowed only two runs (in 11.1 innings). Somebody was going to blink first, and I'm sure everybody thought it would be the young Corbin.
It wasn't. Corbin matched Kershaw, though not pitch-for-pitch (Corbin's pitch count was much higher), for sure inning-for-inning. The two traded zeros for the first three frames, and Los Angeles threatened in the fourth inning with two walks and a single. Corbin escaped the jam by getting Kershaw to ground out to Josh Wilson up the middle, and Corbin was rewarded with a run the next half.
Kershaw had retired seven Diamondbacks in a row when Gerardo Parra led off the fourth with a single. He and Martin Prado then executed the hit-and-run to perfection, putting Parra on third. The Dodgers' defense conceded the run and set up for the double play, which Kershaw then got from Paul Goldschmidt. Still, this Dodgers offense.. it can handle one run, right? Surely, with all that money...
Nope, not tonight. Patrick Corbin sat down the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings, ending the night over 100 pitches but ending it with the Dodgers off the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Kershaw was still pitching very well - he had allowed only four hits and two walks through seven innings, striking out nine Diamondbacks.
He was working his way up to his 1,000th strikeout when disaster hit in the eighth inning. With Kershaw still on the mound, Jason Kubel pinch hit and singled (though it was almost caught by Matt Kemp), and A.J. Pollock put down a beautiful bunt and was safe at first base. Parra worked a walk, and Kershaw was done, ending the night with 999 career strikeouts. Milestones - the Diamondbacks care not for your milestones! They care very much for adding on two insurance runs. Kershaw was pulled for Shawn Tolleson, who was just called up earlier today as the corresponding roster move for Zach Greinke's injury. Tolleson proceeds to walk both Prado and Goldschmidt, driving in two of Kershaw's runners. Kershaw had not taken being removed from the game well at all, and when his runners scored on walks, he was probably thinking, "Heck, I could have done that." Tolleson was pulled for J.P. Howell, who struck out Miguel Montero on a pitch that was marginally closer to the strike zone than Marty Foster's strike three in the Rays/Rangers game. Alfredo Marte lined out to end the inning.
After Corbin, it was just as they had drawn it up - Brad Ziegler in the seventh and David Hernandez in the eighth. With a three-run lead in the ninth, it was time for J.J. Putz to face the bottom of the Dodgers order. This should be easy, right? No, not so much. He struck out A.J. Ellis with no problem, but Nick Punto singled and Skip Schumaker walked while Putz had trouble finding the strike zone. (The generous zone that Bob Davidson had given to Kershaw all night had mysteriously disappeared.) Jerry Hairston Jr. shot one up the middle that looked like trouble when Putz couldn't get it, but there was Josh Wilson with the back-handed flip to Cliff Pennington and over to Goldschmidt to end the game on a beautiful 4-6-3 double play.
Whew! Well, that wasn't easy, but we'll take it!
Beast Mode: P Corbin, +37.3%
Mediocre Mode: M Prado, +14.4%
Least Mode: P Goldschmidt, -7.4%
At time of writing, there were a nice 777 comments in the gameday thread tonight, made by 28 people. TolkienBard led all posters with 91, Craig from Az not far behind, and Clefo in third. All present: AJV19, AzDbackfanInDc, BobRob12, Bryan J. Boltik, Clefo, Craig from Az, DbackCardsFan, Dbacks4eva10101, Gravity, GuruB, Marc Fournier, Rockkstarr12, SongBird, Stile4aly, TolkienBard, TylerO, asteroid, blank_38, blue bulldog, coldblueAZ, hotclaws, imstillhungry95, kishi, prwhitaker1, rd33, shoewizard, snakecharmer, and soco.
Comment of the Night was not the most-rec'd post but it made me laugh more than Stile's, sorry. ish95 with pop culture references for the win...
The #BeatLA series continues tomorrow night at 5:10pm, so go to the ballpark and get your Beat LA giveaway t-shirt. And then get a second one and mail it to me, plzkthx. :)