baseball

Dodgers end skid to clinch play-off berth

Kershaw allows eight hits in six innings

AFP
13:20 September 13, 2017

San Francisco: The Los Angeles Dodgers snapped an 11-game skid on Tuesday, clinching a play-off berth with a 5-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw allowed eight hits in six innings, but limited the Giants to two runs in a win that couldn’t come soon enough for the Dodgers.

They were feted less than a month ago as possibly one of the best teams in Major League history — their 91 wins with a month left in the regular season matching their entire total from 2016.

But on August 26, a shutout loss to the Milwaukee Brewers marked the start of a downward spiral of 16 defeats in 17 games.

Their 11 defeats on the trot marked their worst losing streak in 25 years. Dodgers teams of 1961 and 1992 lost 10 in a row while the 1944 Brooklyn Dodgers lost 16 straight.

A four-run fourth inning for Los Angeles started with Chase Utley’s home run into McCovey Cove. Kershaw’s line drive to left centre eluded Giants left fielder Austin Slater and the Dodgers hurler was credited with a double.

He scored on Corey Seager’s sacrifice fly, and Yasiel Puig’s double scored two more runs in the inning to take a 4-1 lead.

Kelby Tomlinson had homered off Kershaw in the third inning, and the Giants added one run in the sixth inning and one in the seventh to trim the deficit to 4-3 before Justin Turner doubled home Chris Taylor to give the Dodgers an insurance run in the eighth.

Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen loaded the bases in the ninth but struck out Buster Posey and Nick Hundley to end the game.