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Kershaw tops Tribe after Bellinger bests Miller

June 13, 2017

CLEVELAND -- Cody Bellinger not only had his fourth multi-homer game of the season, but he became the first player this season to hit a home run off Indians reliever Andrew Miller. The Dodgers' rookie first baseman connected for a go-ahead solo shot in the eighth inning off Miller, and

CLEVELAND -- Cody Bellinger not only had his fourth multi-homer game of the season, but he became the first player this season to hit a home run off Indians reliever Andrew Miller. The Dodgers' rookie first baseman connected for a go-ahead solo shot in the eighth inning off Miller, and added a three-run home run in the ninth to back Clayton Kershaw and lead the Dodgers to a 7-5 victory at Progressive Field on Tuesday.
Bellinger's home run off Miller was the first homer that Miller has allowed since Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, when Cubs catcher David Ross took the left-hander deep. Bellinger finished the series opener with three hits -- two homers and a double -- and four RBIs, and he now has five home runs in his last three games.
"I had a lot of tips going into that at-bat," Bellinger said. "We focused on them early before the game. We knew we were probably going to face him every game here. He's got nasty stuff. I just tried not to do too much. He threw the slider. I just tried to get my barrel to it, and luckily it got out."
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That was all that Kershaw needed, as the lefty held the Tribe to two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four in seven innings to pick up his ninth win of the season.
The Dodgers added an insurance run in the eighth when Chris Taylor came home on a fielder's choice off the bat of Joc Pederson. Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig slugged a two-run homer -- his 10th of the season -- in the second off Indians starter Trevor Bauer. The Indians right-hander went 5 2/3 innings and struck out five, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks en route to a no-decision.
"I thought [Bauer] battled," Indians bench coach Brad Mills said. "I thought he battled through it. I think we've seen that before. I'm sure that he would say that he'd like to have a couple of those pitches [back]. Put him in some better counts, keep the pitch count down. But at the same time, he really gave us everything he had and battled through some tough situations there as well."

The Indians scored both of their runs off Kershaw. The first came on an RBI single from left fielder Michael Brantley in the third inning, and the second on a solo home run from catcher Roberto Perez. Outfielder Daniel Robertson hit a three-run home run -- the first homer of his career in 351 plate appearances -- with two outs in the ninth off Dodgers reliever Chris Hatcher.

"He is one of the best in the game. He's Clayton Kershaw," Robertson said. "The guy is on a pedestal, probably, that few sit on, and I think tonight we battled with him. … We went toe to toe with him for seven innings. We were a big hit away. I think we played very well tonight against one of the best in the league, against a playoff team."
Taming Miller's slider: Miller's slider has been nearly untouchable this season, but leading off the eighth, Bellinger launched a 396-foot homer to right-center to give the Dodgers back the lead. At 107.1 mph, it was the hardest-hit ball against Miller's slider all season. It was the first homer Miller had given up to a lefty since Aug. 1, 2016, and raised his ERA from 0.28 to 0.55. The Dodgers would go on to add another run after Bryan Shaw replaced Miller on Pederson's forceout.
"I felt like I wasn't as sharp as I'd like to be and was able to kind of grind through it," Miller said. "It was just a pretty poor at-bat. Obviously, it's easy to look back and see what I could've done differently. Overall, I just need to be sharper and make better pitches."

Perez goes deep: Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning, Kershaw made a mistake to Perez, and the Indians' catcher did not miss it for his first homer of the season. Kershaw left a fastball over the heart of the plate, and Perez drove it into the bleachers in left to tie the game at 2. Per Statcast™, Perez's home run was the second-hardest home run (110 mph) hit off Kershaw in the Statcast™ Era, and was Perez's second-longest home run (430 feet) of his career (including postseason).
"Obviously we talk about the slider, but the fastball command wasn't there," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "And I know that he pitches to the glove side a lot and he just couldn't there. And when he was going arm side, it was off. But it's a credit to him that when he doesn't have his best stuff or feel great, he still keeps us in the ballgame and still found a way to get through seven innings."
"I threw a lot of bad pitches tonight that didn't get hit. For the first time all year, I think the results were better than I actually pitched. I was glad I was able to keep the team close on a night that I wasn't my best." -- Bauer, on his start
Indians manager Terry Francona left Tuesday night's game in the eighth inning due to illness. Mills spoke with the media after the loss, but did not have any further details on Francona's status. More information is expected prior to Wednesday's game.
"Obviously, his health is the most important to us, because we don't go anywhere without him," Robertson said. "He is the heart and soul of us."
Bellinger became the first Dodger to hit two home runs in back-to-back games since Adrian Beltre accomplished the feat in 2004. In addition, Bellinger is the fastest player in MLB history to reach four career multi-homer games, as he did so in 45 games. The previous record was held by Bob Horner, who did it in 63 games in 1978.
"For a young player to impact a championship-caliber ballclub like this on the defensive side, obviously in the batter's box, exceeded all of our expectations," Roberts said. "It's easy to say he's only going to get better, and he keeps getting better. And today, obviously, just that at-bat quality continues to get better."
Day 2 (Rounds 3-10) of the 2017 Draft took place Tuesday, with the Dodgers opening their day by taking versatile University of Houston catcher Connor Wong in Round 3 (100th overall pick).
The Indians began their Day 2 by taking prep outfielder Johnathan Rodriguez from the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico with the 102nd overall pick.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 12 p.m. ET.
Dodgers: Right-hander Brandon McCarthy will take the mound for the Dodgers as they face off against the Indians on Wednesday at 4:10 p.m. PT at Progressive Field. McCarthy has given up a total of five runs over his last four starts and owns a 51:15 K:BB ratio over 57 2/3 innings this season.
Indians: Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. ET matchup against the Dodgers at Progressive Field. The right-hander is coming off his fifth win, in which he went six innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts against the White Sox on Friday.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

William Kosileski is a reporter for based in Cleveland and covered the Indians on Tuesday.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for based in Cleveland and covered the Dodgers on Tuesday.