AJ Ellis and Dodgers offense power Clayton Kershaw to 20th win of season
On a windy afternoon at Wrigley Field, Clayton Kershaw hoped to record his 20th win of the season, becoming the first pitcher in the Majors to do so this year. The Dodgers also hoped to gain a game in the close race for the NL West, only two and a half games ahead of the Giants before Friday's game.
Though Cubs starter Edwin Jackson came into the game with a 6.09 ERA and a 6-14 record he had beaten the Dodgers on August 3, and hoped to do so again.
If the Dodgers had been playing in Los Angeles, the dugout would have been completely obscured by bubbles. In the first inning, Matt Kemp smacked a 3-run homer, his 22nd of the year:
Catcher AJ Ellis followed it up with a long ball of his own. Coming soon after a Juan Uribe RBI single, the two-run shot extended the Dodgers' lead to six:
Despite the Dodgers' six-run first inning, the Cubs were determined to fight for a win. As Kershaw struggled against the wind at Wrigley, Anthony Rizzo knocked in a run with an RBI double:
And rookie Jorge Soler plated Rizzo with his first Major League triple:
Though the Dodgers never lost their early lead, no one was more instrumental in Kershaw's 20th victory than his batterymate. Ellis, who caught Kershaw's near-perfect game in July, had hit one home run all season. On Friday afternoon, he tripled that amount, hitting another two-run homer in the third, keeping L.A. well ahead of Chicago:
Other Key Players, Plays
Though Cubs rookie/harbinger of the apocalypse Javier Baez went 0-for-5 at the plate, he demonstrated some quick thinking defense in the third inning:
Yasiel Puig, never one to be left out of a party, became the fourth Dodger to homer in the game, hitting a three-run blast in the in the sixth and extending the Dodgers lead to 11-3:
Dodgers fans were presumably happy that the ball left the park. Well, all except for a guy in the bleachers, who was deprived of his souvenir:
With a victory, Clayton Kershaw joined Pedro Martinez as the only two pitchers since WW II to win at least twenty games in fewer than 30 starts:
The Dodgers came one game closer to clinching a postseason spot, a single game away from a Wild Card berth and seven away from the division championship.The Dodgers will face their division rivals the Giants in a four-game series beginning on Monday. The Cubs will play two more games against the Dodgers before playing host to the Cardinals next week.