Van Slyke backs Kershaw to edge D-backs

June 15th, 2016

PHOENIX -- Scott Van Slyke slugged a three-run homer in the sixth inning, Clayton Kershaw struck out 11 and Kenley Jansen tied the franchise career save record as the Dodgers rallied for a 3-2 win over Arizona on Wednesday at Chase Field in the rubber match of the three-game series.

Kershaw (10-1, 1.58 ERA) is unbeaten in his past nine starts and has double-digit wins for a seventh consecutive season. He struck out 11 with one walk in 7 1/3 innings and has 133 strikeouts and only seven walks in 108 innings this year. Patrick Corbin allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts and three walks for Arizona.

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"Clayton saw we needed to win the series and came with the usual intensity and intent," manager Dave Roberts said. "Clayton was Clayton. For us to get that win was not only good for him, but for us."

Van Slyke's home run followed two-out singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick after the Dodgers had wasted three earlier scoring opportunities while falling behind on a second-inning homer by Rickie Weeks Jr., who also doubled. Arizona cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth on a leadoff single by Michael Bourn and a rocket RBI single off the top of the left-field wall by Paul Goldschmidt.

"With Kershaw on the mound, we know it's going to be tough for our hitters to put up some runs," said Corbin, whose three runs allowed all came on Van Slyke's homer. "[The homer] was definitely frustrating there."

Joe Blanton got two outs in the eighth and Jansen pitched the ninth for his 19th save and 161st of his career, tying Eric Gagne for the franchise record.


Welcome back: Van Slyke's first home run of the year was preceded by a double in his fourth-inning at-bat. That matched his extra-base total for the season, which was interrupted for nearly a two-month stint on the disabled list with a bad back. He was activated June 3 and was batting .130 coming into the game, and this was his fourth start since returning.

"Looking for something in I could pull, and he gave it to me," Van Slyke said. "Big league pitchers are good, and you come back and, like, wow, you got to adjust yourself. I know I can hit any lefty if I'm focused and have my swing down."

Veteran impact: D-backs manager Chip Hale started Weeks in favor of Peter O'Brien in left field to have an experienced veteran bat in the lineup against Kershaw. Weeks made his skipper look smart with a solo homer in the second for the game's first run. He went 2-for-3 against the Dodgers' ace, improving to 7-for-19 against him in his career. His six career extra-base hits against Kershaw are tied with Adam Dunn for the most ever against the left-hander.

"He did a nice job," Hale said. "He's a pro, he gives us professional at-bats every at-bat. Even his last at-bat of the game against Jansen was a bullet to short. We can always count on that from him."

Weeks made a nice defensive play as well, nabbing Justin Turner trying to stretch a single into a double in the third. More >

Where was that? Kershaw appeared stunned when plate umpire Sam Holbrook called a ball on a 3-2 fastball to Yasmany Tomas leading off the bottom of the fifth for only the seventh walk he's issued this year. Even Tomas acted like he thought it was strike three. Kershaw immediately regrouped and on the next pitch induced a 4-6-3 double play from Nick Ahmed. In the seventh inning, Kershaw actually hopped in the air in anger when he didn't get another strike call from Holbrook during an at-bat that ultimately ended in a strikeout of pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin.

"I was too emotional today," Kershaw said. "I was hopped up. I was screaming and jumping. It doesn't look good, and I was trying not to do that, obviously. But emotions get the best of you at times, and today I was a little too animated for my liking, so I need to calm myself down a little more, for sure. Too much Red Bull."

Unable to capitalize: The D-backs got the leadoff man on in the seventh when Welington Castillo doubled to left. But Kershaw bore down, struck out Tomas, got Ahmed to ground out, and struck out pinch-hitter Gosselin to keep the Dodgers' lead at 3-2. It was the third time in four innings the D-backs left a runner stranded at second.

"For the most part, we had a pretty good plan up there at the plate," Weeks said. "We just didn't capitalize."


With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, there was an umpire review to see if a long RBI single by Goldschmidt, which hit high off the left-field wall, actually hit above the yellow line, indicating a home run. The review took only 42 seconds, and the call stood as a single.


Dodgers:Scott Kazmir starts for the Dodgers in the 7:10 p.m. PT homestand opener against the Brewers. He continued his in-and-out form in his last start against the Giants, plagued by first-inning walks, and then he was unable to get an out in the sixth inning.

D-backs: After a day off on Thursday, the D-backs open a three-city, 10-game road trip with the first of four games against the Phillies on Friday at 4:05 p.m. MST. Left-hander Robbie Ray takes the mound coming off his best outing of the season -- 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a win over the Marlins.

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