Logan Forsythe knocked in the game-winning RBI in his first game back from injury and the Los Angeles Dodgers walked off to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1, in extra innings on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
It was a good ol' fashioned pitcher's duel at the Ravine between two of the top ERA leaders in baseball.
Clayton Kershaw and Lance Lynn each allowed just one run in their starts, but did not factor in the decision.
Kershaw cruised through the first eight innings, heading to the ninth with a chance at his 16th complete-game shutout of his career.
"They didn't tell me anything," Kershaw said after he completed the eighth inning. "I was going to keep going until they tell me not to."
After a leadoff single to Randal Grichuk, Kershaw was just two outs away from what would have been his MLB-leading eighth win of the season, when everything suddenly changed on one pitch.
As he had done throughout the game, Kershaw threw a curveball in the dirt, but destiny was not on the Dodgers' side as the ball took an awkward bounce of catcher Yasmani Grandal's glove and rolled all the way to the backstop.
"It was unfortunate, there's no way else to put it," said Kershaw after the game. "The way it bounced, and where it ended up, a guy gets two bases on a wild pitch. That's no fun."
Ordinarily, the runner would simply advance to third on the wild pitch, but Grandal was unable to locate the ball and miraculously, Grichuk scored from second to tie the game, and end the complete-game shutout.
Kershaw finished the ninth, allowing just one run on three hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts.
"His curveball was as good as it's been all year," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "I felt he deserved a chance to finish the game. I felt that was his game to complete."
It was the 53rd time in Kershaw's illustrious career that he has struck out 10 or more batters in a game, but the three-time Cy Young Award winner was visibly upset after he left the mound in the ninth.
Kershaw left the game with a 2.02 ERA, and now is in sole possession of first place for the lowest ERA in the National League.
Lynn entered the game in 5th and finished the night with the third lowest ERA among N.L. starters at 2.53.
"You want to outduel whomever you're pitching against," said Lynn. "When you're facing someone of his [Kershaw] caliber you have to be on point and can't give up many runs or you're going to lose the game."
Lynn's only mistake of the game was a first inning slider to Grandal that the catcher crushed to dead-center for the only run of the game.
"When it was all said and done, I made one mistake, and it was a homer," said Lynn of his start. "It was quite the pitcher's duel tonight and it was fun."
Grandal has reached base safely in 14 of the last 15 games and is batting .411 with seven runs scored, nine doubles, two home runs and 14 RBi since May 3rd.
Lynn allowed just the home run as he surrendered two hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts in eight innings.
Redbirds starter Mike Leake will have a chance to leapfrog Kersahw on Wednesday when he takes the mound for St. Louis.
After the game was tied in the ninth, the Dodgers' piggybacked off Kershaw's strong start to throw four scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit.
Forsythe, who was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list before the game, had four consecutive strikeouts before he drove in the game-winning run with a double into the right field corner.
"You try not to focus on the negatives," said Forsythe of his early struggles in the game. "Something was just a tick off. Luckily, I made an adjustment and I was able to help the team."
It was Forsythe's second walk-off hit of his career, and first since June 5, 2012 when he was a member of the San Diego Padres.
Both times struck out 19 times each, a franchise record for the St. Louis Cardinals, and one shy of tying the franchise record for the Dodgers.
The loss snapped the Cardinals nine-game winning streak on the road.
The Dodgers have won five of six overall, but still remain 2.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies for first place in the National League west.
Dodgers' outfielders Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig collided in the outfield in the top of the 10th inning and both players stayed on the ground for several minutes after the play.
"It was like they got into a car accident," Roberts said of the play. "It was a scary moment."
Replay showed Puig's elbow hitting Pederson in the face as Joc's head collided with the wall. Puig appeared to have injured his ribs in the collision as well.
Pederson left the game in what was diagnosed as a neck strain, Puig stayed in the game and will undergo x-rays on Wednesday.
"I felt it in my ribs, but I remained in the game to try and help my team. Hopefully tomorrow there's no pain," said Puig of the collision. "He [Joc] feels great, but he can't look at me from the side."
Rich Hill returns to the mound on Wednesday for the Dodgers in what could turn out to be another pitcher's duel against Mike Leake. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.
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