KKKKKKKKKKKK-zmir completes KO of Cincinnati
By Jon Weisman
There are four other pitchers looking to prove that the Dodger starting rotation isn’t just Clayton Kershaw.
After last week’s seven-walk interruption, Scott Kazmir is back on the case.
Kazmir struck out 12 batters — his most since 2013 and one shy of his career high — in the Dodgers’ 3-1 victory over Cincinnati tonight, Los Angeles’ season-high fourth win in a row.
The 32-year-old just missed becoming the second Dodger lefty in the past five days to strike out 13 in six innings, after Alex Wood on May 21. He settled for the dandy dozen whiffs, on 91 pitches.
“It was really dominant,” Dave Roberts said. “We needed him to rebound, and he did just that.”
Kazmir allowed four hits, and two of them were basically accidental loopers just over the infield. But the fourth nearly did in both Kazmir and Joc Pederson — a long, fourth-inning drive by Jay Bruce that led Pederson to crash into the wall. Brandon Phillips raced around from first base to score, while Howie Kendrick picked up the ball and, via Chase Utley, threw out Bruce trying for the inside-the-park homer.
Pederson weebled and wobbled in the wake of the play, but was steady enough to stay in the game — and in the same inning, line a two-run single that gave the Dodgers the lead.
“It definitely didn’t feel good hitting the wall, but I tried to do what I could to catch it,” Pederson said. “When I got up, my leg hurt a little bit, but I shook it off and was able to finish the game.”
Yasmani Grandal, who was 6 for 58 with two walks in May, later added a solo home run. Three of his seven May hits are homers.
In direct contrast to his command-free May 20 start at San Diego, Kazmir had 10 strikeouts before his first walk tonight, and issued only two free passes. But after averaging 110 pitches over his past five starts, Kazmir was replaced by Louis Coleman to start the seventh, rather than begin the inning against two right-handers with 100 pitches looming, Dave Roberts explained.
Coleman, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen combined to retire the final nine Reds. The Dodger bullpen has allowed two runs in its past 23 innings.
But here’s a stat that’s just stunning: In the final four innings of each game combined in this three-game series, Cincinnati batters went 0 for 36, with three walks and 11 strikeouts.