LOS ANGELES -- If the first inning was going to be an indication of how Clayton Kershaw's night would go in the Dodgers' 4-0 win against the Rockies on Saturday, then it seemed the career-high four home runs he allowed in his previous start were going to have a negative
LOS ANGELES -- If the first inning was going to be an indication of how Clayton Kershaw's night would go in the Dodgers' 4-0 win against the Rockies on Saturday, then it seemed the career-high four home runs he allowed in his previous start were going to have a negative carryover.
With one out and the bases loaded after allowing a double, single and issuing a walk, the Rockies were in position to jump on Kershaw early. The Dodgers' ace and three-time National League Cy Young Award winner stayed composed and used a combination of his fastball and slider to strike out Ian Desmond and Trevor Story to escape the inning unscathed, though the Rockies still seemed to have the upper hand after running Kershaw's pitch count to 33.
"It's rough first inning there throwing that many pitches," Kershaw said. "It kind of made it tougher to get through the game, unfortunately. You just try to limit the damage in that situation. First inning, for me, it's tough to settle in. That's a really good lineup over there, and they're going to make you pay for some mistakes."
After the rough opening frame, Kershaw settled in and retired 13 in a row before again running into trouble in the fifth. Back-to-back two-out singles by Chris Rusin and Charlie Blackmon put runners on the corners for DJ LeMahieu, but Kershaw's reliable curveball got LeMahieu to line out to third.
Kershaw finished having thrown six scoreless innings on four hits and a walk, with eight strikeouts.
"He found a way to get through that first inning," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "And after that, he kind of hit his stride and was where he needed to be. Pitch count got up there early, and for him to get through six innings and then get to the 'pen was great."
Roberts mentioned earlier in the week that Kershaw would come out a little more amped to shake off his previous start, and it showed en route to his 11th win of the season and his 137th of his career, moving him to ninth place on the franchise wins list.
"Obviously they're a really good team over there," Kershaw said. "I think that's a team we're going to have to beat down the stretch. It's important to get these wins now, especially when we're playing so well."
Roberts added: "He was on edge. I think that every time he takes the mound he's on edge. Tonight I think there was even more, I guess, if that's even possible."
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.