Clayton Kershaw stared up at the scoreboard in the sixth inning of a 3-2 victory and saw how close his lead came to disappearing. The replay showed Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt's line drive hitting the yellow strip running across the top of the left-field fence. The wall shuddered but still managed to contain Goldschmidt's missile.
Rather than a two-run homer, Goldschmidt received credit for an RBI single. And Kershaw navigated through 7 1/3 innings, holding Arizona to two runs as the Dodgers captured the series and salvaged a 3-3 record on this trip.
Kershaw (10-1, 1.58 earned-run average) produced his usual bit of brilliance despite a few hiccups. He struggled to solve fading veteran Rickie Weeks. Goldschmidt nearly tied the game in the sixth. At one point in the seventh, Kershaw looked so miffed with the strike zone of umpire Sam Holbrook that he hopped in the air in protest.
Still, Kershaw finished the day with 11 strikeouts and one walk. He collected his 10th victory of the season, only the third pitcher in baseball to do so in 2016. Manager Dave Roberts removed him with one out in the eighth, rather than let the Diamondbacks face him for a fourth time through the lineup.
His offensive support stemmed from one swing by his close friend, Scott Van Slyke. Van Slyke smacked a three-run homer in the sixth inning off Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin. Otherwise the Dodgers' bats stayed quiet, reliant on Kershaw to carry them. Kenley Jansen recorded the 161st save of his career, which tied him with Eric Gagne for the franchise record.
The Diamondbacks dinged Kershaw in the second inning. Five years removed from his prime as an All-Star second baseman in Milwaukee, Weeks demonstrated his retained ability to hit a fastball. He crushed a 93-mph heater on the inner half into the left-field seats.
Kershaw struck out the next two hitters and retired the third with one pitch. He did not allow another baserunner until the fourth — when Weeks bashed another fastball for a double.
The double was Weeks' sixth extra-base hit in his career off Kershaw. He tied Adam Dunn for the most by any hitter against Kershaw.
An odder occurrence opened the fifth inning. With the count full against outfielder Yasmany Tomas, Kershaw pumped a 94-mph fastball that appeared to catch the lower outside corner. Tomas looked dejected and turned toward his dugout. But Holbrook deemed the pitch a ball and issued Kershaw's seventh walk of the season.
Kershaw did not allow the indignity to linger. He erased Tomas with one pitch, a 94-mph fastball that shortstop Nick Ahmed bounced into a 4-6-3 double play.
The Dodgers trailed by one as the sixth inning began. Corbin retired the first two batters. Adrian Gonzalez dug out a shin-high fastball and singled to left. Howie Kendrick ripped a liner into left. There were two on for Van Slyke, who doubled in his previous at-bat.
Corbin spotted a first-pitch fastball low and inside for a strike. His next fastball traveled down the middle, and Van Slyke powered it out to left.
The lead almost disappeared in the bottom of the inning. Kershaw allowed a leadoff single to outfielder Michael Bourn. Kershaw had overwhelmed Goldschmidt in their first two encounters, both of which ended in strikeouts. But the wall kept the Arizona slugger in the park and the Dodgers in the lead.
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