Tony Cruz #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals scores on a ground out by teammate Joe Kelly #58 during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium on August 6.
They say that you can't win them all, but with Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw on the mound Tuesday in St Louis, many were looking for the Dodgers to get that 16th straight road victory.
Instead, the Dodgers were held to one run and lost what should have been a very winnable game.
Clayton Kershaw pitched six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts. It was only his fourth start of less than six innings this season, and his first since June 21st.
He cruised his way into the fifth inning, allowing three base runners and erasing two of them on double plays. On one of those double plays, Kershaw's head was almost taken off by a line drive, but he snagged the ball before it could hit him and, somehow, was still aware enough to make the throw to first to catch Carlos Beltran for the second out.
With one out in the fifth, he gave up a double, single, double to Jon Jay, Tony Cruz and Pete Kozma for one run, and then a groundout to second base allowed a second run to score. He was removed from the game in the seventh for a pinch hitter, at the 90-pitch mark.
The Dodgers offense only scored one run on nine hits and three walks, but they should have mustered more support for Kershaw. In the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings, the Dodgers grounded into double plays. In the third inning they had two on and no outs, then went down in order.
In the sixth inning, they scored their only run, but when the scorecard says: Crawford double, Gonzalez RBI single, Puig single, Ethier single, you expect more than one run out of that situation. A.J. Ellis grounded into a double play with bases loaded to end the last legitimate scoring opportunity of they had in the game.
Another wasted opportunity came in the seventh when Juan Uribe doubled to lead off the inning. Nick Punto laid down a bunt in front of the plate giving them an easy out to get Uribe at third base.
Brandon League came out of the pen in the eighth inning, and delivered a performance that made everyone forget about his recent nine innings of scoreless pitching. He faced four batters and gave up two homers for three runs.
If Kershaw gets even one more run of support, he most likely stays in the game at 91 pitches, keeping Brandon League in the pen and giving them that much more of a chance to win. But instead of timely hits, the Dodgers grounded into double plays.
The Dodgers ended up losing 5-1, snapping their 15-game road win streak, and giving Kershaw his seventh loss of the season. After winning so many in a row, it would seem like one loss would not matter much, but it was the fashion they went down in that is frustrating.
Also frustrating is that Kershaw has combined for 14 innings with two earned runs, but has a no decision and a loss in his last two starts.
The Dodgers play game three of four against the Cardinals on Wednesday with Ricky Nolasco taking on the Cardinals' Shelby Miller.