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LA downs Yanks in 9th, boosts NL West lead

September 14, 2016

NEW YORK -- Clayton Kershaw fired five sharp innings in the first Yankee Stadium start of his career and Justin Turner belted a ninth-inning double off a shaky Dellin Betances as the Dodgers edged the Yankees, 2-0, on Wednesday.Turner's deciding hit down the left-field line chased home Corey Seager, who

NEW YORK -- Clayton Kershaw fired five sharp innings in the first Yankee Stadium start of his career and Justin Turner belted a ninth-inning double off a shaky Dellin Betances as the Dodgers edged the Yankees, 2-0, on Wednesday.
Turner's deciding hit down the left-field line chased home Corey Seager, who had reached on an error charged to second baseman Starlin Castro. Betances then threw wildly past catcher Gary Sánchez on a Yasmani Grandal tapper, allowing Turner to score Los Angeles' second run.
"It was a breaking ball. That's his bread and butter and he likes to go to it," said Turner, who has five go-ahead RBIs in the ninth inning or later this season. "Corey did a good job on the 2-2 pitch of getting a good jump and stealing second to get in scoring position. [Betances] just left that one over the plate a little bit and I kept it fair."
The win was credited to Luis Avilán, who recorded four outs as the Dodgers took two of three games in the Interleague set. Kenley Jansen set the Yankees down in the ninth inning for his 44th save in 50 chances. Los Angeles pushed its National League West lead to five games over the Giants, while the Yankees missed out on a chance to gain in the Wild Card race.
New York now takes its pursuit of a postseason berth to Boston, where the rivalry will be heightened with so much at stake. The Yankees trail the Red Sox by four games in the AL East and are two behind the Blue Jays for the second AL Wild Card, with the Orioles holding the first Wild Card slot, a game ahead of Toronto.

Making his second start since returning from a herniated disk, Kershaw retired the first 12 men he faced before having his outing interrupted by a 48-minute rain delay, the second of the day.
Though Kershaw returned after the skies cleared, allowing two runners to reach on an error by Turner at third base and a single by Chase Headley, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts elected to end his afternoon after the left-hander struck out the final two batters of the fifth inning, stranding two runners in scoring position. Kershaw struck out five and permitted just one hit while throwing 64 pitches (42 strikes).
Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda also struck out five and was done early, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning before handing the game over to the bullpen. Tommy Layne, Luis Severino and Tyler Clippard worked scoreless relief for New York.
"It's unfortunate. We had a really good homestand," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "This could have made it a great homestand and we weren't able to get it done today. We didn't have a lot of chances. What it came down to is, they got the big hit and we didn't."
Kershaw strikes back: Kershaw, who stayed in through a pair of rain delays while he had a perfect game going, got two big strikeouts -- on Rob Refsnyder and Austin Romine -- to escape the fifth-inning jam, and he was fired up afterward. More >
"It was just an important at-bat. It was zero-zero still and I'm trying to keep our team in the game," Kershaw said of showing emotion. "I was throwing out of the stretch there for the first time all game and I was leaving a lot of stuff up. To be able to finally throw a really good slider? It was fun."

Pineda gets a pair, then exits: Pineda was in a fourth-inning jam after Josh Reddick reached on catcher's interference to load the bases with one out, but the right-hander escaped by inducing Andre Ethier to hit into a 3-6-1 double play. The play ended awkwardly as Pineda fell to the ground covering first base, appearing to roll his ankle. That ended Pineda's afternoon after 82 pitches (50 strikes).

Sloppy conclusion: Castro said that he was "disappointed" after missing Seager's low drive that opened the ninth inning, calling it "an easy play" that he should have made. That went two-fold for Betances, who fielded Grandal's tapper but had the ball roll off the fingers of his throwing hand toward the backstop. Betances said that his footwork has been the issue on similar plays in the past. More >
"It's one of those plays, you've got to be quick," Betances said. "It probably would have been better if I did underhand it there. It just didn't feel good out of my hands. I've got to be better at that."

"As the usage, the intensity, the length of his starts ramps up, we're going to see a better Clayton each time." -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, on the progress of Kershaw
Dodgers:Rich Hill (12-3, 1.80 ERA) returns to the mound for the first time since he was pulled after seven perfect innings in Miami last Saturday as the Dodgers open a four-game series with the D-backs at Chase Field on Thursday at 6:40 p.m. PT. In three starts for the Dodgers since his trade from Oakland, Hill is 3-0 and hasn't allowed a run. He has 20 strikeouts in 19 innings during that span.
Yankees:Masahiro Tanaka (13-4, 3.04 ERA) takes the ball on Thursday as the Yankees open a key four-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. Tanaka is 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA over his last seven starts, the second-lowest ERA in the American League over that span. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez gets the call for Boston.
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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

Roger Rubin is a contributor to based in New York and covered the Dodgers on Wednesday.