After strong outing, Kershaw savors Dodger comeback
By Jon Weisman
So, no surprise Clayton Kershaw was in a great mood as he met reporters tonight. Even with a no-decision.
“That was incredible,” Kershaw said of the Dodgers’ 2-1 comeback win over the Giants. “That was such a fun game to be a part of. We know that their bullpen has had struggles. Our bullpen did a great job of keeping it at one run and gave ourselves a chance in the ninth inning.”
Kershaw marveled at how the Dodgers delivered good at-bats “up and down the lineup” in the ninth, starting with pinch-hitter Andrew Toles’ leadoff single. Corey Seager and Justin Turner followed with two-strike hits, before Adrian Gonzalez’s double gave the Dodgers the win — all with none out.
“Tolesy, he gets a pinch hit in these situations every time he has a chance to,” Kershaw said. “J.T., Seager, Gonzo — it was awesome. Really fun team win, and pretty important one, too.”
It was the sixth straight time the Dodgers had beaten the Giants with Kershaw starting, and the sixth straight time the Giants had lost to the Dodgers with Bumgarner starting.
Kershaw left with a no-decision after six innings, allowing only a scratch run in the third when Eduardo Nunez went around the bases without the ball leaving the infield.
“Nunez kind of tapped one in the right place for a hit, and he picked a good pitch to run on with the curveball,” Kershaw said. “And I’ve got to do a better job on the pitch to (Angel) Pagan — that’s a pretty impossible to block. There’s nothing (Yasmani Grandal) could do.”
At the start the bottom of the sixth, Kershaw was pulled for a pinch-hitter at 88 pitches, still the longest September outing of his ever-progressing comeback.
“I thought maybe I had a chance to go seven (innings), but it was going to be kind of tough, especially leading off that next inning,” he said, adding that there were no health issues.
“In New York, I felt really good physically and stuff-wise — everything was coming out the way I wanted it to come out. Today, it wasn’t like that, but that could just be that you’re not going to have your best stuff every time. Physically, I feel good — no complaints. Arm feels good, back’s fine.”
In fact, Kershaw was in the process of completing his postgame workout when Madison Bumgarner had his seventh-inning dust-up with Yasiel Puig, catching the moment on TV.
“It was definitely intense,” Kershaw said. “That wasn’t Puig’s fault. It kind of looked like (Bumgarner) was saying, ‘Don’t look at him.’ We all know that Bum’s pretty intense out there, but he definitely stirred the fire on that one. He was asking for it, and I don’t know what he expected to happen.”
“It was probably the first one I didn’t have time to get my clothes back on and get out there,” Kershaw added, to laughter from reporters. “Not that I was going to start anything.”
But Kershaw was back in the dugout for the bottom of the ninth, watching like a fan — a really invested fan.
“I think our whole team was on the front step,” he said. “It’s stressful — it’s out of your control, so you really can’t do anything about it. So you feel a little helpless, but at the same time, it’s a lot of fun to watch our guys compete. We have some guys who can really perform in the clutch, and you saw that tonight.”