The news that Matt Kemp was going onto the disabled list took some of the attention away from Clayton Kershaw’s latest gem — and his exchange of brushback pitches with fellow ace Ian Kennedy.
Kemp, the Dodgers All-Star center fielder, was downcast following Monday night’s 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, knowing he’ll be sidelined for at least two weeks with a strained left hamstring. His consecutive game streak ended at 399, the longest active streak in the majors until Monday.
”I’m disappointed,” Kemp said after missing his first game since Aug. 18, 2009. ”This is my second time being on the DL, and the first time was a long time ago (April 2007). I like playing every game, but I’ve got to be healthy and playing at 100 percent for me to be effective. So I’ve got to let it heal. It’s going to take some time.”
”It’s hard for me to sit out for 15 days. I mean, I was going crazy tonight watching them play,” Kemp said.
Andre Ethier homered in Kemp’s absence as the Dodgers won their fifth straight. Third baseman Juan Uribe, who was in manager Don Mattingly’s original lineup, also was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of an injury to his left wrist.
Kershaw (3-1) scattered four hits over seven innings, struck out six and walked three, helping the Dodgers improve the best record in the majors to 24-11. He bounced back from winless starts against Colorado and San Francisco in which he gave up four home runs.
”When you’re chasing pitches out of the zone, he can be tough. But when he’s in the zone he’s hittable,” Arizona shortstop Willie Bloomquist said. ”I mean, he’s got good stuff, obviously, so you’ve got to bring your `A’ game when you face him or you’re not going to beat him. He’s about as tough as they get from the left-handed side.”
Kershaw faced the Diamondbacks for the first time since his 3-2 victory on Sept. 14 at Dodger Stadium, when he was ejected by umpire Bill Welke for hitting Gerardo Parra with a pitch on the right elbow after Parra doubled his previous time up. One night earlier, Parra had taken an extra second or two to leave the batter’s box on his tying home run against Hong-Chih Kuo, who had thrown an earlier pitch at his head.
On Monday night, Kennedy threw a 2-1 pitch behind Kershaw and to the backstop before walking him. Kershaw returned the favor in the fifth, making Kennedy bail out of the batter’s box on a first-pitch fastball before walking him. Umpire Marvin Hudson immediately issued a warning to Kershaw and both dugouts.
”He obviously didn’t like it, so he came back at us. So you take it for what it’s worth. It’s a long season,” Bloomquist said. ”It’s the game within the game. Nobody’s trying to hurt anyone, it’s just to prove a point. Baseball has a way of taking care of itself, so if it happens again, it’ll happen again. I certainly don’t mind it, if there’s a reason for it. But I’m not the one out there throwing the ball.”
Kershaw then gave his side of it.
”Old-school baseball’s one thing, and I understand what the manager’s trying to instill over there, but there’s no place for that here,” he said. ”It’s obvious what they were trying to do, but I don’t agree with what they did. It just felt wrong. He’s a good pitcher, he had an awesome year last year and I have a lot of respect for what he does on the hill. But if that’s how they want to do it, that’s fine. He missed anyway, so no big deal.”
Josh Lindblom gave up a home run to Aaron Hill in the eighth inning and Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five attempts.
Kemp was replaced in center by Tony Gwynn Jr., who prevented a run in the third inning with a perfect one-hop throw to A.J. Ellis after A.J. Pollack tried to score from second base on a single to right-center by Bloomquist. In Sunday’s win over Colorado, Gwynn shifted from left field to center after Kemp aggravated his hamstring injury while robbing Carlos Gonzalez with a diving backhanded catch in left-center.
Kennedy (3-3) was charged with three runs (two earned) and six hits in six innings, after going 12-0 with a 2.28 ERA in his previous 17 starts against NL West opponents. The right-hander, coming off back-to-back losses against Washington and St. Louis, has lost three straight starts for the first time since June 15-July 5, 2010, when he lost four in a row while allowing 20 earned runs over a span of 23 2-3 innings.
NOTES: The Dodgers recalled OF Jerry Sands from Triple-A Albuquerque to replace Kemp on the roster. During Kemp’s streak, he was used nine times as a pinch-hitter, twice as a designated hitter — and once as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement — after Manny Ramirez injured his hamstring. … Ethier’s homer was the first given up by Kennedy in his past seven starts on the road — a stretch that spanned 45 2/3 innings and 168 batters. The last one he had allowed away from Chase Field was a two-run shot by John Mayberry Jr. on August 18, 2011 at Philadelphia.