Cubs vs. Dodgers – Match Recap – Jun 27, 2021
LOS ANGELES – – Clayton Kershaw wrapped up the eighth inning and left the mound to a standing ovation from the Dodger Stadium crowd after a performance worthy of the best of his remarkable career.
Those savage cheers quickly turned into boos when the refs inspected him for foreign substances, but Kershaw only smiled and then waved his cap when the roar returned.
“I missed having a whole crowd of Dodgers fans again, and that’s great,” said Kershaw. “I never want to go back there again.
Kershaw and the Dodgers are moving forward after a week that began with a few steps back for the defending World Series champions.
Kershaw recorded a season-high 13 strikeouts in eight dominant innings, and Zach McKinstry netted a grand slam in the second inning of Los Angeles’ 7-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night.
Cody Bellinger scored his second straight game and scored three points in the Dodgers’ third straight win over Chicago after four Cubs pitchers combined for a no-hitting game in the series opener on Thursday.
Kershaw (9-7) had four hits while baffling the Cubs with his slider, registering his highest strikeout total in a regular season game since July 2017 and posting a high of 26 swings and misses.
“It’s hard to imagine he’s any better,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Beyond Kershaw’s brilliance, the Dodgers appear to be back in shape after streaking three straight losses to San Diego with their lifeless effort into Chicago’s no-strike goal.
“Coming back here and not being hit, I think maybe that was a wake-up call in some ways,” Kershaw said. “It was kind of a collective effort, the reasons we were fighting there. We’ve come back to the top in the last three games, and it was good to see.
Javier Báez hit his 18th homer for the Cubs, who haven’t won a series at Dodger Stadium since 2014. Anthony Rizzo also started in fourth with low back strain.
Kershaw only lasted one inning at Wrigley Field last month in the shortest start of his 14-year-old career, but the 33-year-old southpaw was spectacular in the rematch.
He didn’t count three balls until the sixth, and he delivered his only walks in the seventh. He equaled his highest strikeout total since striking out 13 Brewers to close the NL wildcard streak last fall en route to his first World Series title.
“He’s one of the big guys,” McKinstry said. “He’s a great baseball player, a great competitor. He’s a great leader in this clubhouse, and everyone is just swarming around him.
McKinstry’s first career grand slam was the Dodgers’ first hit after charging in goals with two walks and one batter touchdown against Adbert Alzolay (4-7).
Three batters and an overtime error later, Bellinger followed Saturday’s home run with a two-run Alzolay, who gave up six runs on five hits in three innings in his third straight loss.
“Just wasn’t precise,” Cubs manager David Ross said of Alzolay. “It looked like his command was off. All its rhythm in general, synchronizing its mechanics, led to a sporadic command. He was fighting there.
Sergio Alcántara had the Cubs’ first three-ball count against Kershaw in the sixth, but Kershaw struck it out on sticks anyway to set a new season high.
Mookie Betts tripled and scored on Bellinger’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.
WIDE EYES CLOSED
McKinstry’s slam was the rookie’s second homer in three days, whose promising start was derailed by a five-week injury absence that lasted most of May. He hadn’t hit particularly well since his return – until the Dodgers coaching staff found he was swinging with his eyes closed.
“I closed my eyes on contact, which is crazy to think,” McKinstry said. “I saw this in San Diego, I started working on it, making sure my eyes were open. It helped me. I started to see the ball a little longer in the hand of the launcher.
Bears: C PJ Higgins will undergo right forearm flexor tendon repair when he has surgery. He is still absent for the season. Higgins injured himself while throwing on June 9.
Dodgers: SS Corey Seager’s broken hand is taking a little longer than expected to heal, Roberts said. The World Series MVP isn’t swinging the bat as often as he used to, and there is still no specific timeline for his return.
Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (10-4, 3.84 ERA) throws Monday in Milwaukee to open a three-game set.
Dodgers: The National League’s top two teams meet again when Trevor Bauer (7-5, 2.57 ERA) takes the mound on Monday to open a two-game home series against the San Francisco Giants.