NEW YORK – This decision will be second-guessed.
Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts removed ace Clayton Kershaw with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and brought in relief pitcher Adam Liberatore over closer Kenley Jansen with Los Angeles leading 2-1.
The move backfired as the next batter, Curtis Granderson, hit an RBI triple, costing Kershaw the win and nearly the game for the Dodgers.
Thankfully, Adrian Gonzalez saved Roberts' bacon with a two-run single in the top of the ninth and the Dodgers went on to beat the New York Mets 4-2, on Sunday night, to take two-of-three in the series at Citi Field.
Despite not factoring in the decision, Kershaw was once again the story of the game as the former-MVP flashed his top form, striking out 10 batters and walking none.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner reached 100 strikeouts on the season, and became the only pitcher in the live-ball era (since 1900) with just five walks when reaching the century mark milestone in strikeouts.
No surprise to New York fans, it was Public Enemy No. 1, Chase Utley, who scored the first run of the game for the Dodgers.
Utley scored on a controversial call in the third inning. After his one-out single was followed by a single from Corey Seager, third baseman Justin Turner grounded into an RBI fielder's choice, scoring New York's nemesis.
New York challenged the call as it appeared on second glance that Seager slid to the side of the bag and may have violated MLB's new slide rule, otherwise known as "The Utley Rule."
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The irony of course, is that the rule was created after Utley famously slid into Mets' shortstop Ruben Tejada, breaking his leg, during Game 2 of the NLDS last fall, and that the same two teams were playing on Sunday night, and that it was Utley who scored on the play.
After a lengthy review, the umpires were told by MLB that Seager did not violate the rule and the call on the field was upheld, allowing Utley to score and Kershaw to stake a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers doubled up their run total in the fifth inning when Gonzalez continued his clutch hitting at Citi Field with an RBI single to right field that scored Seager.
Current Mets' shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera put the Mets on the scoreboard with a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth inning. Cabrera crushed a 74 MPH Kershaw curveball off the railing in right field that was also reviewed by the umpires and ruled a home run.
The homer was the first allowed by Kershaw in the month of May (last April 26), and just the fourth run the left-hander had allowed over that span.
Kershaw was taken out with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the eighth inning marking the first time all season that Roberts made a mound-visit and removed Kershaw in the middle of an inning.
Shockingly, Roberts opted to bring in left-hander Adam Liberatore to face Granderson in lieu of closer Kenley Jansen. The move blew up in his face as Granderson hit an RBI triple off the wall in right field to tie the game, stealing the win away from Kershaw.
Kershaw got a no-decision because of the bizarre move by his manager and finished the game surrendering two runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks in 7 and 2/3 innings.
Gonzalez hit a game-winning two-run single off Mets' closer Jeurys Familia in the top of the ninth inning to give the Dodgers the 4-2 lead. It was Gonzalez's eighth hit of the series as the first baseman knocked in three of LA's four runs in the game.
Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth, recording his 15th save of the season.
Players of the Game:
Clayton Kershaw: 2 runs on 4 hits with 10 strikeouts in 7.2 IP.
Adrian Gonzalez: 2-for-4 with three RBI.
Asdrubal Cabrera: Home run.
1. Kershaw 100 Strikeouts: Clayton Kershaw became the first pitcher in the live-ball era (since 1900) to have the fewest amount of walks at the time he's reached 100 strikeouts. Kershaw surpassed Cliff Lee's mark of seven walks at 100 strikeouts on Sunday when he reached 100 strikeouts on the season with just five walks. Wow.
2. Utley Mets (Daily Notes): According to ESPN Stats and Information, Los Angeles Dodgers' second baseman Chase Utley has averaged a home run every 17.8 at-bats against the Mets in his career. That number is the highest ratio for a second baseman in the live-ball era, passing Jeff Kent, who also played for the Dodgers.
3. Employee of the Month: Clayton Kershaw did not get the win thanks to a questionable decision by Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts, but he did have one heck of a month of May as the likely National League Player of the Month finishes May with a record of 5-0, with a 0.91 ERA and 65 strikeouts (the most in a month since Sandy Koufax) and just two walks.
Dodgers (27-24): Los Angeles will travel to the Windy City where they begin a four-game series at Wrigley Field with the best team in baseball, the Chicago Cubs. Alex Wood is expected to start on Monday for the boys in blue.
Mets (28-21): New York stars an interleague series with the Chicago White Sox at Citi Field on Monday when Matt Harvey takes the mound.
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