MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson outdueled Clayton Kershaw and had nothing to show for it. Yasmani Grandal forced extra innings Friday with a home run in the ninth, and Cody Bellinger won it for the Dodgers with another solo shot in the 12th for a 2-1 win over the Brewers in
MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson outdueled Clayton Kershaw and had nothing to show for it. Yasmani Grandal forced extra innings Friday with a home run in the ninth, and Cody Bellinger won it for the Dodgers with another solo shot in the 12th for a 2-1 win over the Brewers in a strikeout special at Miller Park.
The Brewers tied their own Major League record by striking out 26 times, as the teams combined to set a new National League mark with 42 strikeouts in the game. Kershaw was responsible for 14 of the strikeouts, including the 2,000th of his career, making him the third fastest to that milestone in Major League history.
"I've never seen anything like that," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "For our guys to punch out 26 guys, both guys, Nelson has really good stuff, changed his mix. His stuff is electric. He matched Clayton pitch for pitch, and as a baseball fan, it was really fun to watch."
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Grandal and Bellinger each struck out in three at-bats against Nelson before connecting against relievers Corey Knebel and Neftali Feliz. Bellinger, just named the National League Rookie of the Month for May, hit his 12th home run of the season off Feliz in the 12th inning, before Kenley Jansen stranded the tying runner at third for a second scoreless inning, sealing the win.
The home run was the sixth off Feliz in 24 innings this season. His ERA after his first 25 games in a Brewers uniform is 5.25.
"I thought Neftali made decent pitch to Bellinger. I did not think it was a bad pitch," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He executed a pitch that was up. I give [Bellinger] a lot of credit right there. It was an 'up' pitch, which is what we wanted to do. He got on top of a 95 mph fastball right there."
Kershaw and Nelson did their part to drive up the strikeout count by engaging In one of the most compelling pitching battles in 17 seasons at the hitters' haven that is Miller Park. The starters combined for 25 strikeouts and carried dueling shutouts into the seventh, only to settle for no-decisions. Kershaw fell into a 1-0 hole when Domingo Santana hit a booming home run in the seventh, and Nelson was denied victory when Grandal homered with one out in the ninth.
Kershaw set a season high with those 14 strikeouts and allowed two hits in seven innings. Nelson was even better, matching his career high with 11 strikeouts without a walk and scattering five hits over eight scoreless innings.
Knebel was off to a good start in his bid to complete Nelson's gem when he started the ninth with a strikeout, giving the closer at least one whiff in all 28 of his appearances this season. But he fell into a 3-1 count against Grandal, who hit a line-drive homer to right for a 1-1 tie.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Second time's the charm: Nelson did not find serious trouble until the eighth, when Yasiel Puig reached on an infield hit and Brett Eibner lined a single to left field. Chris Taylor pinch-hit for Kershaw -- ending the lefty's outing at 103 pitches -- and hit the ground ball Nelson was seeking, but Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar bobbled it and could only record one out. With runners at the corners for John Forsythe, Nelson induced a nearly similar grounder and this time Villar converted, feeding Orlando Arcia, who finished off an inning-ending double play to end Nelson's night with a flourish.
"In that situation, I felt that I trust C.T. to get the bunt down, and if the count went in his favor, I was going to have him hit," said Roberts. "Right there he got behind. Typically you play more aggressive for the win on the road, but with our bullpen, I was willing to take our bullpen over their bullpen."
Said Counsell: "Jimmy did his job. He pitched brilliantly."
Well-struck: Brewers leadoff man Keon Broxton hit Kershaw's very first pitch for a double and Eric Thames followed with a walk before Kershaw set down 20 batters in a row leading to Santana's two-out homer. Santana connected with a down-the-middle fastball for the longest -- 443 feet, according to Statcast™ -- and hardest-hit home run -- 110.9 mph off the bat -- home run against Kershaw in the Statcast™ era.
"I always dreamed about hitting a ball like that off of one of the best pitchers in the game, so it was really great for me," Santana said. "It would've been better if we had won, but obviously, it made me feel good." More >
"I think that's what happens in the age of executed pitching, and that's what it was. They hit one more home run that us." -- Counsell, on matching the strikeout record
"Our bullpen is pretty special. They throw that high fastball really well and guys don't know if it's a strike or not and feel like they have to swing, makes it really, really hard." -- Kershaw, on the Dodgers' bullpen
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Nelson, who struck out 10 D-backs in his previous start, became the first pitcher in Brewers history to log consecutive double-digit strikeout games without a single walk. That's notable, considering Nelson issued the most walks in the Majors (86) last season. More >
SAVE THAT BASEBALL
Kershaw struck out 11 of 14 Brewers batters in a stretch from the first inning into the fifth, but one of those strikeouts was special. When Villar went down swinging for the second out of the second inning, it gave Kershaw 2,000 for his career, and catcher Grandal flipped the milestone baseball toward the Dodgers dugout. Only Pedro Martinez (1,715 1/3 innings) and Randy Johnson (1,734) are the only pitchers in history to reach that plateau in fewer innings than Kershaw's 1,836. More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
After Grandal's homer made it a new ballgame, the Brewers tried to steal an out in the ninth by calling for a review of pinch-runner Enrique Hernandez's slide back into second base on a pickoff attempt. After Counsell's challenge was denied, the Dodgers went on to load the bases with two outs for Eibner, who struck out.
In the bottom of the 11th, the Dodgers challenged a hit-by-pitch call with Jesus Aguilar at bat, but the call stood.
Then in the bottom of the 12th, the Dodgers asked for a received a crew chief review on a safe call at second base on Villar's double. Like an inning before, the call stood.
Dodgers: Starter Rich Hill said he prefers to be on a five-day routine and will continue to do so when he takes the mound at 1:10 p.m. PT Saturday. In his last start against the Cardinals on May 29, the lefty earned his second win of the season, allowing one earned run on two hits over five innings.
Brewers:Matt Garza looks to bounce back at 3:10 p.m. CT Saturday, after suffering his first two losses of the season in his last two starts. Garza saw his ERA rise to just under four in his last two starts, giving up 10 earned runs over the two outings.
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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.