LOS ANGELES – With three weeks to play in the regular season and the Los Angeles Dodgers locked in a tight pennant race, Clayton Kershaw is back just in time.
Kershaw pulled out five in his first start since July 3 and the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 on Monday night for their seventh straight home win.
“I missed it,” Kershaw said. “There aren’t a lot of better feelings in the world than pitching here and getting a win.”
Activated from the injured list earlier today, Kershaw had missed 57 games with an inflamed elbow.
“He was miserable,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He hates not competing and not playing. I know he’s been waiting for this day for some time. “
His teammates too.
“We’re all just delighted to see him there again,” said third baseman Justin Turner.
The 33-year-old southpaw allowed four hits, walked one and was not in the decision after throwing 50 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. Kershaw hit a single in the infield in the second and sacrificed in the fourth.
“I was throwing more curved balls today than in the past, but it just seemed to work better. This slider has to work, “said three-time award winner Cy Young.” There’s not a lot of time to fix the issues. “
Phil Bickford (4-2) took the win with a scoreless round of relief.
With the Dodgers in second place chasing NL West leaders San Francisco, Kershaw’s return gives them another front row starter to join Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer and Julio Urías, all of whom are strong contenders for the Cy Young Award.
“For me, being able to be a part of it is huge,” Kershaw said. “Maybe I can skip six next time.” That would be great. “
The defending World Series champions Dodgers stayed 2 1/2 games behind the Giants in pursuit of their ninth straight division title. San Francisco clinched a playoff berth with its eighth straight victory, 9-1 over San Diego.
“The Giants are not losing,” Kershaw said. “They don’t make it easy for us.”
Kershaw was throwing his fastball at around 91 mph before going on the IL. He hit 90 a few times in the first when he needed 20 shots to get out of the set. He retired the team in third, his only clean run.
“Seeing him go up and down five times was fantastic,” said Roberts. “The most important thing for him was to feel good and want more.”
The Dodgers took a 3-1 lead in the first over Corey Seager’s RBI singles and Turner’s two-point double in the left corner of the field. Turner added a solo homerun, his 25th, in the eighth.
Austin Barnes doubled down in the left corner of the field in the sixth, extending the lead to 4-1.
Arizona’s only run came on Josh Rojas’ RBI single in the first.
Diamondback starter Zac Gallen (2-10) allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He took out four and walked three.
“They came out swinging in the first inning,” said Gallen.
Diamondbacks: RHP Tyler Clippard was cleared to resume baseball activities after being on the COVID-19 injured list, although he never tested positive for the virus. … RHP Merrill Kelly had a 38-location reliever pen in Arizona. He has been absent since a positive COVID-19 test on August 14. … OF Kole Calhoun (left hamstring tight) will strike and begin a basic running program. … LHP Caleb Smith will kick off a mock game in Arizona on Tuesday to stay in shape while serving a 10-game suspension for having a foreign substance on his glove. Smith lost an appeal and began serving his sentence on Saturday.
Dodgers: OF AJ Pollock (hamstrings) has seen no setbacks as he increases his activity daily. He will not be traveling with the team to Cincinnati later this week and is expected to compete in minor league rehab games instead. … INF / OV Chris Taylor (neck) missed his third game in a row. The team are giving him a few more days to improve before making a decision on the injured list on Wednesday.
Making his fourth career start in left field, Gavin Lux cut past Cody Bellinger’s cross to catch a deep volley from Arizona’s Carson Kelly in the third. Bellinger was hit in the face by Lux’s glove as they nearly collided on the warning track. Christian Walker came next and struck another fly. Bellinger waved his glove twice at Lux to keep him out of the way and managed the catch to end the round. Lux runs away laughing.
Several former Dodgers stars have gathered to celebrate the Tommy Lasorda Bobblehead night. Ron Cey, former pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, Eric Karros, Rick Monday, Manny Mota, Chan Ho Park, Steve Yeager and Fernando Valenzuela exchanged stories about their late Hall of Fame manager in the dugout ahead of the game . They joined fans in the traditional shout of “It’s time for Dodger Baseball!” as the crowd tilted their caps to the sky. Lasorda’s granddaughter, Emily, bounced Roberts for the ceremonial first pitch, as Lasorda’s daughter Laura looked on. Lasorda died in January at the age of 93.
Diamondbacks: RHP Luke Weaver (3-4, 4.24 ERA) is 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA in three starts at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers: RHP Tony Gonsolin (2-1, 2.79) is making his second start since leaving IL. He faces Arizona for the fourth time this season, allowing four runs in 9 1/3 innings without a decision.
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