Clayton Kershaw fanned 10 batters and finally collected his 100th win of his career in his fifth attempt and the Los Angeles Dodgers held on to defeat the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Friday night.
The game marked the return of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen who was reinstated from the disabled list on Friday morning after he spent the last 12 weeks recovering from foot surgery.
"It was a relief just to be back out there," said Jansen of his return. "12 weeks is a long time. I had to be very patient. I had to listen to everything the trainers wanted me to do. It was a very rare injury."
Jansen entered into the game in a setup role in the 8th inning and remarkably struck out four batters on 14 pitches in his first big league action since the 2014 NLDS last year.
Jimmy Rollins got the Dodgers rolling in the first inning when he hit a rocket into the Rockies bullpen for his fourth homer of the season. Rollins had a season-high four hits on the night and was a triple shy of the cycle.
Justin Turner went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a run scored and hit a two-run double in the bottom of the third. Andre Ethier singled him home later in the inning to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.
Rollins picked up his 900th career RBI in the bottom of the 5th inning when he singled home Kershaw and it seemed like Kershaw would coast to his 100th career victory from there.
However, after a leadoff single to Carlos Gonzalez to start the seventh inning Kershaw was chased after D.J. LeMahieu singled him home three batters later. Despite leaving the game with runners on 1st and 2nd and two-outs, Kershaw seemed to be in a perfect position to pick up his century-mark win.
But, Paco Rodriguez came out of the pen and surrendered a bases clearing double to Daniel Descalso and suddenly the lead shrank to 6-4 heading into the 7th inning stretch.
Descalso went 2-for-3 with three RBIs for the Rockies.
The Dodgers bullpen has struggled lately allowing three runs or more in the late seventh inning or later in four of their last five games.
Jansen came out to his ceremonial "California Love" by 2Pac in the top half of the 8th and received a thunderous roar from the hometown crowd. Jansen did not disappoint in his 2015 Dodgers debut striking out four batters on 14 pitches after Carlos Gonzalez reached base on a strike-three passed ball.
"It felt great to see the crowd get into it when I came out," Jansen said. "It got me excited. I just wanted to go out there and do my best."
Jansen became just the fifth Dodger in franchise history to record four punch-outs in one inning, but more importantly, he kept the game at 6-4 for Kershaw.
"That was an amazing inning. That doesn't happen too often," added Jansen of the historic four strikeouts.
Juan Nicasio worked out of a 1st and 2nd and one out jam to get his first save of the season and first career save which comes against his former team.
Kershaw becomes the second youngest to 100 career victories at the age of 27 years and 57 days, behind only Felix Hernandez (27 years, 14 days).
"It's cool, it's something to celebrate I guess," said Kershaw of the milestone. "Hopefully, I'm just getting started but it's pretty cool.
Kershaw allowed three runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts over 6.2 innings of work and improves to 7-0 with a 2.28 ERA in his last eight starts against Colorado.
"Not winning bothers me," chuckled Kershaw when asked if it bothered him that it took him five attempts to get his 100th win. "I would have been okay tonight if I didn't get it. I just wanted to pitch well."
Eddie Butler made his 10th career start on Friday and shockingly, his 5th against the Dodgers. Butler allowed three runs on six hits, lasting only 2.2 innings, his shortest start of his career. Butler falls to 0-4 with a gaudy 7.04 ERA against the Dodgers.
"I was throwing the ball down and keeping it down, but they weren't being called strikes," complained Butler of his short outing. "Then a couple of guys had some long at-bats and were fouling balls off and that elevates the pitch count really fast."
Kershaw becomes just the 10th pitcher in Los Angeles Dodgers franchise history to reach 100 wins in his career. His 10 strikeouts tonight marked his 31st career double-digit strikeout game.
Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to a season-high seven games.
Troy Tulowitzki left the game for Colorado in the third inning after experiencing tightness in his left quadriceps.
The last Dodger to strikeout four batters in one inning like Jansen did tonight was Zack Grienke on July 25th, 2014 against the San Francisco Giants.
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