SAN DIEGO -- Before Cody Bellinger turned it into a blowout again with a ninth-inning grand slam on a pitch seemingly impossible to hit, before Kenley Jansen couldn't finish off a four-out save and before Clayton Kershaw lost it with plate umpire Toby Basner, the Dodgers had already done enough
SAN DIEGO -- Before Cody Bellinger turned it into a blowout again with a ninth-inning grand slam on a pitch seemingly impossible to hit, before Kenley Jansen couldn't finish off a four-out save and before Clayton Kershaw lost it with plate umpire Toby Basner, the Dodgers had already done enough to beat the Padres on Saturday night.
The 10-2 final wasn't indicative of how well Kershaw pitched over the first seven innings, or how clutch Kiké Hernandez was with his throwing arm and bat, cutting off a first-inning Padres rally before doubling in a pair of runs, or how generous the San Diego pitching staff was again, issuing nine more walks and a hit batter, with seven of those scoring.
Kershaw (5-2) walked four for the first time in two years, although from his occasional mound tirades, he apparently felt that was the fault of Minor League vacation fill-in ump Basner, whose strike zone Kershaw repeatedly questioned with his body language. But not after the game.
"Maybe just too much emotion," Kershaw said, moving on to the next topic.
Kershaw is 16-6 in 31 starts against the Padres with a 2.00 ERA after throwing 118 pitches, and until pinch-hitter Ryan Schmipf's homer leading off the eighth inning, Kershaw hadn't allowed one ball with an exit velocity higher than 93 mph.
In his previous start, the Giants put six balls in play at 100 mph or harder off him, the most in any start during the Statcast™ era (2015-17). The rate at which Kershaw had yielded 100-plus mph contact (17 percent of his batted balls) and barrels (7.1 percent) are both up from 2015 and '16.
"Obviously better than the last one, so I'll take it for sure," said Kershaw, who manager Dave Roberts said will get an extra day of rest next time after being moved up a day because of Brandon McCarthy's unspecified left shoulder injury.
Roberts took the ball from Kershaw with a 5-1 lead and one out in the seventh with runners on second and third. Pedro Baez got the second out, but also walked Austin Hedges to load the bases, and Roberts brought on Jansen for a four-out save.
Jansen struck out Hunter Renfroe to end the threat and the Padres bullpen turned it into a blowout via the slam by Bellinger, his third homer in two games and fifth in 42 Major League at-bats.
Jansen's four-out save attempt was aborted, though, when a Padres rally was extended by Justin Turner's fielding error. When Jansen's pitch count hit 33, Roberts brought in Chris Hatcher for the final out.
"Kenley pitched out of a big spot and I'm looking for four outs from him and you can't predict the slam, five runs, after he's only made eight pitches," said Roberts. "You can't just get a reliever and say come in the game. I can't predict [Jansen's] 22-pitch inning. With weather coming tomorrow, and Kenley was already warm. Then where the pitch count got to be, I got him out of there. It just happened quickly."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.