Clayton Kershaw struck out four over six scoreless innings Thursday, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers past the San Francisco Giants 7-0 a day after he spoke out in support of his Black teammates as the clubs decided not to play in protest of racial injustice.
“For guys to stand together and not play a major league baseball game is a big deal,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before Thursday’s first game of two seven-inning contests in a doubleheader.
AJ Pollock hit a two-run homer and Dodgers star Mookie Betts reached 1,000 hits in his 824th game with his sixth-inning single. The souvenir ball was quickly retrieved, authenticated and put in a protective box.
And Betts nearly didn't play again.
He initially planned to sit out Thursday after speaking to Roberts late Wednesday, then changed his stance.
Roberts said the Dodgers stayed together in deciding how to proceed Thursday.
“Regardless of the doubleheader he wasn’t going to play, felt that he wanted to continue to stand firm on his position, which I absolutely respect and support” Roberts said. “But in talking to him this morning ... talking to the Players Alliance and Black players around the league, they just came to the consensus that they could use their platform more by playing today, playing both games. And also the fact that there’s a lot of white teammates that stood beside them in not playing, acknowledging that and to continue to stay unified and play and to stay in lockstep with their teammates was very important.”
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Kershaw (4-1) won his third straight start and avenge a loss to the Giants on Aug. 8.
His delivery a night earlier was equally impressive.
“As a white player on this team is how do we show support? What’s something tangible that we can do to help our black brothers on this team?” Kershaw said in support of Betts not playing Wednesday. “Once Mookie said that he wasn’t going to play that really started our conversation as a team of what we could do to support that.”
Austin Barnes doubled in two runs to highlight the Dodgers' four-run fourth, when they also got RBI singles from Joc Pederson and Corey Seager.
NL-best Los Angeles (23-9) snapped San Francisco's seven-game winning streak after the Giants' pulled off a 10-8 walkoff victory in the series opener Tuesday.
Giants starter Logan Webb (2-3) was done after 3 2/3 innings, tagged for five runs on four hits.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (1-0, 4.32 ERA) was placed on the injured list with a blister on his pitching hand. He had been set to start the original game Thursday night. “This is the first time Walker's dealt with a blister,” Roberts said. “He was very disappointed.” Buehler had his best outing of the shortened season last Friday. A 2019 All-Star, the 26-year-old right-hander allowed one run and struck out 11 in six innings of a win against Colorado. The blister developed late in Buehler's last start and didn't heal as quickly as hoped. “It just didn’t make sense for us (to push it), so that’s kind of the thought behind it,” Roberts said.
Dodgers: Recalled RHP Mitch White, who joined the active roster for the second time this season after making the 40-man roster in November. He didn’t make an appearance in his last stint and his next game will mark his major league debut.
Giants: Added OF Luis Basabe to the roster as the 29th man for the second game.
Roberts didn't know his starter for the second game waiting to see how the opener went, while RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 4.65) was set for the Giants after he had been the scheduled pitcher in the postponed contest Wednesday.