Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 2, Royals 0
June, 24, 2014
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Johnny Vander Meer's record never got a scare Tuesday night. Clayton Kershaw lost his no-hitter on the second batter he faced, leaving the former Cincinnati Reds pitcher as the only player ever to throw back-to-back no-hitters.
But after Eric Hosmer singled to left field, Kershaw buckled down as usual and carried the Los Angeles Dodgers once again. He got a Billy Butler grounder that turned into a double play in the first inning and was off and running. Kershaw struck out eight batters over eight shutout innings in the Dodgers' 2-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.
How it happened: The Dodgers haven't exactly been scalding the ball on this trip any way and they were without two of their most important offensive players Tuesday. But Kershaw didn't need much run support and the Dodgers had the right gloves in the right places. Miguel Rojas made a crucial stop and throw on Alcides Escobar's slow roller that got past Kershaw and nearly trickled into center field and would have tied the score in the seventh inning. Andre Ethier had a key pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth.
In Kershaw's last four starts, he is 4-0 with a 0.33 ERA.
Hits: The Dodgers figured it was going to be a blow to lose Juan Uribe, but it really hasn't been because Justin Turner has been just as good. Maybe better. He's not quite the fielder Uribe is at third base, but he has been a more productive hitter. Since taking over as an everyday player, Turner has batted .363 with nine extra-base hits in 27 games. He sparked the Dodgers' only early offense by slicing a line drive to right-center leading off the game for a triple.
Misses: When Hanley Ramirez again felt soreness in his right shoulder -- two weeks after it kept him off the field -- the Dodgers scratched him from the lineup. Dee Gordon, their leadoff hitter and spark plug, got the day off. That left them to rely on some bench players who really weren't on anyone's major league radar a few months ago. The bottom of the lineup figured to be unproductive and, guess what, it was unproductive. Jamie Romak (1-for-21), Carlos Triunfel and Rojas combined to go 0-for-8 with a couple of strikeouts.
Stat of the game: Between Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Dan Haren, the Dodgers have three of the most extreme control pitchers in baseball. Kershaw walked only one batter -- Alex Gordon -- which means Dodgers pitchers have gone 28 straight starts giving up two walks or fewer. Only two teams since 1914 have had longer such streaks -- the 1964 Houston Colt .45's and the 1990 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Up next: The teams complete their three-game series Wednesday, with Haren (7-4, 3.62 ERA) pitching for the Dodgers and James Shields (8-3, 3.70) going for Kansas City. The game begins at 5:10 p.m. PT.