Rangers get to Kershaw early, hold on for win
LOS ANGELES -- Joey Gallo hit a two-run home run to help the Rangers open up a 4-0 lead against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, and they held on for a 5-3 victory on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw had multiple streaks come to an end as he was 3-0 in his last four starts, 4-0 in his last eight Interleague starts and 9-0 in his last 10 starts in June. Kershaw allowed four runs in six innings, despite striking out 10.
"He's an outstanding pitcher," said Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder, who had a home run and a double. "You just have to go up there and grind it out. It's not like he's going to throw mistakes so you just have to do what you can."
Rangers starter Wandy Rodriguez went 5 1/3 innings to get the win. The Rangers have won three straight against the Dodgers in the four-game home-and-home matchup, and 21 of their last 29 overall.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rodriguez sets up Gallo: Rodriguez, a switch-hitter, had a career .133 average, but he had a third-inning leadoff single off of Kershaw. The next two batters struck out, but Gallo launched a first pitch deep into the right-field seats for a two-run home run. In 510 plate appearances, it's only the 24th time Rodriguez has touched home plate and the first since 2012.
"I can hit a little bit," Rodriguez said. "He threw one down the middle and I swung."
Missed opportunities: The Dodgers stranded a runner 90 feet from home in three of the first four innings against Rodriguez. Justin Turner flied out with runners on the corners in the first, and Yasiel Puig flied out in the second and struck out in the fourth to leave runners in scoring position on base. For the night, the Dodgers were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. More >
"We haven't been able to string anything together offensively," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "We've had some big hits, JT with the big hit to tie it yesterday and we had some pretty good swings today to get us back in the game. Right now, it's hard to finish the thing off."
Welcome back: In his first game since coming off the disabled list with a strained muscle in his back, Scott Van Slyke didn't miss a beat. He laced a double down the line in his first at-bat, then got the Dodgers on the board with a two-run homer in the sixth.
"He swung the bat well," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It's good to get him back."
Freeman saves Rodriguez: Rangers left-hander Sam Freeman got the Rangers out of a big jam in the sixth after Rodriguez allowed three runs. Freeman entered the game with two on and one out in the inning. Facing two left-handed hitters and trying to hold a 4-3 lead, Rodriguez struck out Joc Pederson and retired Adrian Gonzalez on a grounder to first. Freeman stayed in the game in the seventh and retired the side in order. More >
"It was a great experience. My family was here, it was fun." -- Rookie reliever Keone Kela after getting his first Major League save
"[Kershaw's] frustration is a picture of our club right now." -- Mattingly
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rangers, with three straight victories over the Dodgers, are 61-38 against the National League since the beginning of 2010. That is a .616 winning percentage that is the best by an American League team in Interleague Play in that stretch.
Rangers: Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo is being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to start against the Dodgers at 9:10 p.m. (CT) Thursday. Ranaudo was 7-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 starts at Round Rock and had a 2.00 ERA in his last six starts..
Dodgers: The Dodgers will have Zack Greinke close out the four-game, two-city series with the Rangers. Greinke has a 1.95 ERA this season, but is winless since May 5. He lasted all eight innings his last time out against San Diego but took the loss after a go-ahead home run by Justin Upton in the eighth.
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