He's back! Broxton nails down win for Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw pitched his heart out Tuesday.
Then his bullpen threatened to rip it out once again before Jonathan Broxton -- of all people -- got the final out in the Dodgers' 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies in the opener of a six-game homestand at Dodger Stadium.
The win was just the second in seven games for the Dodgers, and it came despite the fact the Dodgers' two biggest flaws -- a lack of timely hitting and a lock-down bullpen -- once again reared their ugly heads.
It's a script Dodgers starters have become familiar with lately: pitch well, leave with a lead and then hope their relievers can close it out. Sometimes they do; many times they don't.
Take Kershaw, for example. He's allowed more than two earned runs just once in his previous five starts, yet he has just one win to show for it. On Tuesday, he scattered five hits over seven shutout innings, striking out six. But before he'd gotten back to the clubhouse, reliever Kenley Jansen had allowed a single and a walk, putting the Dodgers bullpen back on a tightrope.
George Sherrill came in to quickly restore order, however, and Broxton then pitched a perfect ninth, helping Kershaw raise his record to 11-7 and drop his ERA to 3.03, best among Dodgers starters in both categories.
And to think Manager Joe Torre spent part of the afternoon lamenting his team's offense.
Or, rather, his team's lack of offense.
"We haven't been productive. And you need production," he said. "Our hitting has been erratic. And very inconsistent."
The Dodgers were stuck in neutral again for much of Tuesday, managing just a hit off Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin through four innings. That all changed in the fifth, though, when Jamey Carroll drew a lead-off walk and catcher A.J. Ellis singled him to third.
One out later, Scott Podsednik dropped an opposite-field double just out of the reach of Ryan Spilborghs, one-hopping the short fence in the left-field corner to score a pair. That was the Dodgers' first hit in their last 26 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but it wouldn't be their last. After an out and a walk, James Loney drove in two more runs with a double to right-center then scored himself on Casey Blake's solid single.
Blake added an eighth-inning single and scored the Dodgers final run when Colorado reliever Randy Flores fielded pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard's weak tapper back to the mound but threw wildly to first, pulling Todd Helton off the bag.
-- Kevin Baxter