Kershaw continues dominance over Rockies
DENVER -- After a weekend of more whining than winning in St. Louis, the Dodgers had a mood adjustment on Monday night.
They paraded out the heavy hitters -- four of them belting homers -- and even got a career-high three hits from Clayton Kershaw along with seven solid innings in an 11-4 blowout of the Rockies. They scored six runs in the sixth inning, after scoring six runs in their previous six road games.
After the game, Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup" was blaring over the clubhouse sound system and the country superstar was there himself, shaking hands and unabashedly cheering on a Dodgers team for which he's rooted since the 1970s, even though he grew up in Oklahoma.
Keith even detoured his tour bus to the Mile High City instead of heading home from Phoenix after Sunday's concert there. Having made a similar detour during the Dodgers' 42-8 run in 2013, he plans to stay for Tuesday's doubleheader, although manager Don Mattingly (they're buddies) wouldn't tell him who was pitching the early game (Juan Nicasio).
For all of their creative roster manipulations, it's unlikely the Dodgers will buy Keith out of the music business to keep his 11-run karma. His $65 million annual income would create luxury tax implications.
Kershaw, who makes less than half that, said he's a huge Keith fan, so he was pleased the Dodgers could put together such a spirited victory, which came after Mattingly called a pregame team meeting.
Adrian Gonzalez had four hits plus a walk and Howie Kendrick drove in four runs. Kendrick and Joc Pederson smacked three-run homers, while Andre Ethier and Jimmy Rollins hit solo shots for the Dodgers, who are 8-2 against the Rockies this season and 22-18 against everybody else.
Sometime soon, the Dodgers will need to beat the good teams too, but for now the wins against the last-place Rockies count the same.
Kershaw got this four-game series off to a great start, improving his career mark against Colorado to 16-5 and 8-0 the last nine times he's faced the Rockies. He's pitched at least seven innings in three consecutive starts, raising his record to 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA, although he did let a 2-0 lead get away on Nolan Arenado's two-run homer to center.
Kershaw said he left his last two starts feeling happy (and a winner), something he hadn't done since last September. He had a live fastball and a quality curve, although he still hasn't found last year's consistency with the slider. Seven strikeouts gave Kershaw the league lead with 90.
He said he doesn't let Coors Field and its reputation as a hitter's paradise affect him.
"If your stuff is good, it'll be good here," said the lefty, now 8-3 overall at Coors Field. "The margin for error is a lot less."