Kershaw delivers another gem for Dodgers


Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw is off to an amazing start — even by his standards.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace followed up his sensational one-man show on opening day with seven innings of two-hit ball and nine strikeouts in a spirited duel with A.J. Burnett, beating Pittsburgh 1-0 Saturday night and handing the Pirates their second straight shutout loss in this three-game series.

“For me it just starts with throwing strikes,” Kershaw said. “Just keep pumping the strike zone and letting the defense work. That’s kind of my mindset.”

Kershaw (2-0) walked one and retired 17 consecutive batters after giving up a leadoff single in the first inning to Starling Marte. Last Monday, the 2011 Cy Young Award winner threw a four-hitter against the World Series champion Giants and broke a scoreless tie with his first major league home run.

“My fastball wasn’t great tonight,” Kershaw said. “I was reaching back and didn’t have a whole lot in the tank, for whatever reason. But I was able to keep them a little bit off-balance and was able to get some big 3-2 strikeouts with the slider.”

Kershaw’s latest gem came one night after Zack Greinke held the Bucs to two hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 3-0 victory.

“Right now the offense isn’t scoring a ton of runs, so the pitchers have got to pick up the hitters — just like we expect them to pick us up when we’re struggling,” Kershaw said.

Brandon League followed Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen out of the bullpen and pitched a hitless ninth for his second save.

Burnett (0-2) was charged with a run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, walked four and struck out nine — including Matt Kemp all three times he faced him.

The right-hander was coming off a 10-strikeout, 3-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs in the Pirates’ opener.

“I left it on the field, I know that,” Burnett said. “Like I said after my first start, you want to go deep into games, obviously. This was a pitcher’s duel right there, man. You’re going up against one of the best, so I just wanted to go out there and do what that kid was doing.”

Burnett is 1-7 with a 3.04 ERA over his last nine starts since the beginning of last September, receiving fewer than three runs of support in eight of them — and the Pirates have been shut out four times during that stretch. Now that he’s their No.1 starter, he’ll probably keep getting few runs to work with because he’s facing the other team’s ace. But that doesn’t concern him.

“I want to go up against every ace. That’s what I’m here for,” Burnett said. “I’m not worried about run support. That’s not my thing. That’s beyond my control.”

Carl Crawford drew a leadoff walk in the Dodgers’ first and stole second, but was stranded there as Burnett struck out Mark Ellis, Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez. Crawford stole second again after his two-out single in the third, and Ellis drove him in with a ground single through the left side.

The Dodgers have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Pirates and eight straight in Los Angeles. The only loss came in their final meeting of last season, when Garrett Jones hit a pair of three-run homers in support of Burnett’s 10-6 victory.

The Pirates haven’t hit a home run through their first five games — tying the 1998 and 1967 squads for the club’s longest drought from the start of a season since the middle of World War II (11 games in 1943). That year they hit only two in their first 26 contests.

“We’re going through a rough patch, but there’s a lot of talent in the room and guys who have some pop. So I don’t think we’re worried about it,” said catcher Russell Martin, who began his career with the Dodgers.

CINCINNATI — Ian Desmond made two errors at shortstop that helped the Cincinnati Reds take the game to extra innings, then led off the 11th with his first home run of the season to rally the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 victory Saturday.

Bryce Harper also homered for the Nationals, who were coming off a 15-0 loss in the series opener — their most lopsided defeat since baseball returned to Washington in 2005. The Reds hit six homers in that one.

Washington got the better of it this time, hitting five homers to Cincinnati’s one. The teams have combined for 12 homers, accounting for 20 of the 28 runs in the series.

Wilson Ramos hit two for the Nationals, including a solo shot off J.J. Hoover (0-2) in the 11th for a 7-5 lead.

Desmond’s two errors led to a pair of runs that helped the Reds rally from a 5-1 deficit against one of the NL’s best bullpens.

Nationals closer Rafael Soriano blew a save for the first time in three chances. He gave up a leadoff homer to Shin-Soo Choo in the ninth before Joey Votto tripled — his first extra-base hit of the season — and scored on a wild pitch.

Craig Stammen (1-0) pitched the last two innings. He gave up a two-out RBI double to Brandon Phillips before fanning Jay Bruce to end it.

CARDINALS 6, GIANTS 3

SAN FRANCISCO — Carlos Beltran hit a go-ahead, two-run single against his former team and Shelby Miller beat the reigning World Series champions in his second career start as St. Louis defeated San Francisco to spoil Buster Posey’s MVP party.

Pete Kozma had three hits, drove in a run and scored for the Cardinals from the No. 8 spot in the order. Matt Holliday singled in a run and Matt Carpenter added an RBI single in the ninth.

Beltran also hit an RBI single in the first against Ryan Vogelsong (0-1) in a matchup of teams that won the past three World Series — and a rematch of last fall’s NLCS won by the Giants in seven games.

Hunter Pence hit a solo homer for the Giants and Pablo Sandoval homered and had an RBI single.

Posey received his NL MVP plaque in a pregame ceremony. The Giants will have yet another day of celebrating Sunday with the World Series ring presentation.

Miller (1-0), the Cardinals’ top pitching prospect, allowed two runs in 5 1-3 innings. Mitchell Boggs, filling in for injured closer Jason Motte, finished for his first save.

METS 7, MARLINS 3

NEW YORK — John Buck drove in four runs and was part of a rare umpire’s call that helped New York beat Miami.

Collin Cowgill homered, David Wright got three hits and slumping Ike Davis added a pair of singles to lift the Mets on a brisk afternoon at Citi Field.

New York led 3-2 in the seventh inning moments before plate umpire Jim Joyce made the unusual call.

Juan Pierre was at second base and Greg Dobbs hit a two-out single. Pierre dashed home easily with the tying run as right fielder Mike Baxter’s throw was 10 feet wide of Buck at the plate. Pierre crossed home but then collided with Buck as the catcher planted to try and throw out Dobbs at second.

Joyce immediately called Pierre for interference and ruled Dobbs out, ending the inning.

New York then scored three times to break away. Daniel Murphy hit an RBI triple, Wright singled home a run and Buck had a sacrifice fly. Catcher Miguel Olivo contributed to Miami’s problems in the seventh with two throwing errors on steals at second base.

Brandon Lyon (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning. Ryan Webb (0-1) took the loss.

DIAMONDBACKS 9, BREWERS 2

MILWAUKEE — Jason Kubel, Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Hill each homered in Arizona’s victory over the injury-depleted Brewers.

Kubel’s two-run homer gave the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead in the fourth. Goldschmidt then hit a two-run drive in the fourth to make it 6-2. Hill’s solo shot capped the scoring in the eighth after his RBI double in the first gave Arizona a 1-0 lead.

Starter Patrick Corbin (1-0) gave up a run in each of the first two innings, but settled in to win his season debut.

The start was another in a disturbing trend for Milwaukee’s Michael Fiers (0-1), who struggled at the end of 2012 and in spring training. He gave up six runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out one in five innings of his season debut.

BRAVES 6, CUBS 5

ATLANTA — B.J. Upton led off the ninth inning with a homer and his brother Justin followed one out later with another long ball that helped the Atlanta Braves rally past embattled Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol for a victory.

Justin went 3 for 5 with two RBIs. He also homered in the first and now has five homers in Atlanta’s first five games.

The Braves rallied from a 5-1 deficit with three runs in the eighth off Kyuji Fukijawa and two in the ninth off Marmol.

Eric O’Flaherty (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth despite allowing a hit and walk.

Marmol (0-1) gave up two hits, both solo homers, in one-third of an inning. His ERA ballooned to 27.00.

ROCKIES 6, PADRES 3

DENVER — Jon Garland threw six sharp innings in his first appearance in almost two years and Michael Cuddyer drove in four runs, helping the Rockies to a win over the Padres.

Garland (1-0) hardly showed any signs of rust in his first big league start since June 1, 2011. He had season-ending shoulder surgery a month later. The procedure also kept him sidelined for 2012. He gave up two runs and struck out two.

Tyson Ross (0-1) lasted four innings and allowed three runs — two earned — in his Padres debut after being acquired in the offseason from Oakland. He struggled with his control as he walked four.

DODGERS 1, PIRATES 0

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw followed up his sensational one-man show on opening day with seven innings of two-hit ball and nine strikeouts in a spirited duel with A.J. Burnett, and the Dodgers beat Pittsburgh for their second straight shutout win over the Pirates.

Kershaw (2-0) walked one and retired 17 consecutive batters after giving up a leadoff single in the first inning to Starling Marte.

Brandon League followed Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen out of the bullpen and pitched a hitless ninth for his second save.

Burnett (0-2) was charged with a run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, walked four and struck out nine — including Matt Kemp all three times he faced him.

INTERLEAGUE

PHILLIES 4, ROYALS 3

PHILADELPHIA — Pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen hit a bases-clearing, three-run double with two outs in the ninth off closer Greg Holland to lift the Phillies to a victory over the Kansas City Royals in front of the smallest crowd in Philadelphia in four years.

The Phillies had just two hits and trailed 3-1 to start the inning. Holland (0-1) walked Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Michael Young to load the bases. He then struck out Domonic Brown swinging and fanned John Mayberry Jr. looking.

But Frandsen ripped a first-pitch fastball to right-center to knock in all three runners.

Royals starter Luis Mendoza threw six stellar innings, and the Royals’ bullpen went into the ninth with seven hitless innings in the series.

Antonio Bastardo (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Albert Pujols homered twice to offset another tough day for Josh Hamilton in his second game back in Texas, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Rangers 8-4 Saturday.

Pujols hit a two-run shot to the lawn in center field off Matt Harrison in the first inning and watched Hamilton strike out twice and fly out behind him after taking three intentional walks.

The only other time the Rangers let him swing, Pujols homered off reliever Jason Frasor in the sixth.

Mark Trumbo also had a two-run homer in the first against Harrison (0-2), who gave up eight hits and five runs in five innings after losing to Houston on opening night.

Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler hit third-inning home runs against Tommy Hanson (1-0), who gave up three runs over six innings in his Angels debut after arriving in an offseason trade with Atlanta.

The boos were loud again for Hamilton, who said before the game that his wife had to call over security during Friday’s home opener for Texas because fans were shouting insults and obscenities at their family. There were no major incidents, and Hamilton said his family planned to return for the remaining two games.

Hamilton, who signed a $125 million, five-year deal to join Pujols in the middle of the Angels lineup, is 1 for 20 with 10 strikeouts.

TIGERS 8, YANKEES 4

DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 4 day and Prince Fielder drove in two runs to lead Detroit over New York.

Max Scherzer (1-0) gave up four runs in five-plus innings to pick up the win in a shaky start, his first of the season. Phil Hughes (0-1) allowed four runs — three earned — on eight hits in four-plus innings on a day when he was originally scheduled to make a rehabilitation start in the minors.

Darin Downs and Joaquin Benoit combined to pitch three scoreless innings to end the game for the Tigers, who will try for a series sweep Sunday in a matchup of aces, Detroit’s Justin Verlander and New York’s CC Sabathia.

BLUE JAYS 5, RED SOX 0

TORONTO — John Lackey left with a strained biceps in his first start since September 2011, grabbing his right arm in pain and coming out in the fifth inning as Boston lost to Toronto.

Lackey (0-1) missed last season following elbow ligament-replacement surgery in November 2011. He allowed a two-run homer to J.P. Arencibia in the fourth, then clutched his arm and jumped around the mound in pain after throwing low and inside to Jose Reyes on a 2-2 pitch with one out in the fifth.

Teammates and manager John Farrell came to the mound before Lackey walked off with Red Sox trainer Rick Jameyson and was replaced by Alfredo Aceves, who threw ball four.

There was no immediate word on the severity of Lackey’s injury, or how much time he might miss.

Lackey signed an $82.5 million, five-year contract with Boston in December 2009 after eight seasons with the Angels. He allowed two runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings with eight strikeouts.

Colby Rasmus hit a three-run homer off Aceves, a drive off the facing of the third deck in right-center. J.A. Happ (1-0) combined on a two-hitter with Steve Delabar, Aaron Loup and Sergio Santos.

WHITE SOX 4, MARINERS 3

CHICAGO — Alex Rios hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer off Felix Hernandez in the sixth inning and Chicago beat Seattle.

With one out and Alejandro De Aza aboard after a leadoff single, Rios drove an 0-2 pitch through a tricky wind and way over the wall in left for his second homer in two days.

Hernandez (1-1) allowed four runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings in his first try for win No. 100. The right-hander struck out three to give him 1,498 for his career.

De Aza and Hector Gimenez each had a sacrifice fly as the White Sox improved to 25-5 against Seattle since the start of the 2010 season.

Seattle pulled within one on Michael Saunders’ two-run homer in the eighth, but the rally fizzled from there. Jesse Crain wriggled out of a jam to get the ball to Addison Reed, who worked the ninth for his third save.

Donnie Veal (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.

RAYS 6, INDIANS 0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Alex Cobb scattered four hits in 7 1-3 innings, Kelly Johnson homered and Tampa Bay beat Cleveland.

Cobb (1-0) struck out six and walked three as the Rays blanked Cleveland for the second consecutive game. Joel Peralta and Cesar Ramos completed a five-hitter.

Indians catcher Lou Marson left the game in the fourth with a cervical-neck strain, when he had a jarring collision with Desmond Jennings.

Bauer (0-1) had control problems in his Cleveland debut, walking his first four batters and seven overall in five innings.

TWINS 6, ORIOLES 5

BALTIMORE — Justin Morneau singled in the tiebreaking run with two outs in the ninth inning after an error by Chris Davis, and the Twins got a home run from Chris Parmalee in a victory over the Orioles.

Although Davis picked up his 17th RBI, he failed to become the first player in major league history to homer in the first five games of the season. The first baseman also opened the door for the Twins to snatch their first win in Baltimore since April 21, 2011.

With the score tied at 5, Baltimore turned to closer Jim Johnson (0-1) in the ninth. Davis let a one-out grounder by Aaron Hicks roll through his legs, and after a two-out walk to Josh Willingham, Morneau singled up the middle.

Josh Roenicke (1-0) pitched three innings of one-hit relief and Glen Perkins got three straight outs for his first save.

ATHLETICS 6, ASTROS 3

HOUSTON — Bartolo Colon was sharp in his return from a drug suspension and Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie and Seth Smith homered to lead Oakland to a victory over the Astros.

It was the first appearance for Colon (1-0) since he received a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test Aug. 22. He allowed eight hits and three runs without a walk in six innings for the win.

Crisp homered for the second straight game with a solo shot in the fourth that put Oakland up 1-0.

Houston starter Bud Norris (1-1) yielded six hits and five runs — two earned — in 5 2-3 innings.

Jason Castro hit a three-run homer in the fourth for the Astros.

 

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