Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dodgers' Kershaw knocked around by Angels

Just six days after Clayton Kershaw outlasted Jered Weaver in a marquee pitcher's duel, the major league strikeout leader was no match for the pitcher with the AL's best ERA in a one-sided rematch.
Weaver got a measure of payback against Kershaw with eight solid innings and Vernon Wells homered, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-1 victory over the Dodgers on Saturday night.
This was the third time Weaver and Kershaw have hooked up in their young careers. Last Sunday at Dodger
Stadium, Kershaw struck out 11 in a complete-game 3-2 victory, while Weaver yielded a run over seven innings in a no-decision. On May 22, 2009, the Angels won 3-1 with each pitcher allowing a run and receiving a no-decision.
"When you don't have your best stuff, you've gotta limit them to three runs over six—not six over six—especially against a guy like Weave," Kershaw said. "It's a guaranteed loss if you give up six."
Kershaw (8-4) was charged with a season-high seven runs, six earned, and nine hits in six innings. He struck out 10 and walked one.
It was the first time in the left-hander's four-year career that he reached double digits in Ks in three consecutive starts, and he increased his season total to 138—seven more than Philadelphia's Roy Halladay.
"I think Kersh likes getting a matchup like Weaver—or (Justin) Verlander if it's Detroit, or (Tim) Lincecum if it's San Francisco, if it's any one of those guys in Philly. I think he likes that challenge," manager Don Mattingly said.
"It's like facing Randy Johnson. I mean, somebody's got to take him on for six innings and give you a chance to scratch a run out. You may not want that matchup, but you've got to be willing to be the guy that says: 'I'm throwing zeros today with you.'"
Kershaw struck out the side on 15 pitches in the fifth, but that was after the Angels had staked Weaver to a 6-1 lead. Kershaw was 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA in 11 starts since his previous loss on April 26 at Florida.
"The guys came out and did a heck of a job tonight and got to one of the best pitchers in the game," Weaver said. "Anytime you get a six-run lead, it takes a lot of pressure off me. It was great to see. We were able to get some two-out hits in key situations. Obviously, Vernon hit a big home run to get it going. And when he goes, we go."
The Angels grabbed a 3-0 lead in the third after No. 9 hitter Jeff Mathis led off with a double. Mathis scored from third when rookie shortstop Dee Gordon tried for the out at the plate on a grounder by Erick Aybar and threw the ball over Dioner Navarro's head.
One out later, Wells drove a 2-0 pitch to left for his 12th homer and seventh in 17 games. He also homered against Kershaw the last time the ace faced the Angels.
The Angels made it 6-0 in the fourth. Aybar had a two-out RBI single and Bobby Abreu singled in a pair of runs.
"Balls found some holes, and some of them were bloops," Kershaw said. "I made some bad pitches. I probable needed to throw one out of the strike zone right there to Abreu with two strikes. And then, obviously, the pitch to Wells was a misfire. Those were two pitches I would like to have back."
Weaver (10-4) won his fourth straight decision over six starts, allowing a run and four hits and striking out eight. Last season's major league strikeout leader reduced his ERA to 1.92, giving up his only run in the fifth on Trent Oeltjen's sacrifice fly.
"I'm focused regardless of who's out there," Weaver said. "I'm not going up against the other pitcher. I'm going up against the other team."
It was the second time in their respective careers that Kershaw and Weaver have been matched up against the same pitcher in consecutive starts during the regular season. Kershaw won both outings against San Diego's Kevin Correia in May 2010. Weaver's final two starts in 2009 were against Oakland's Gio Gonzalez, and he won the rematch with Gonzalez after losing the first one.
"You think that you need to change things up just because you faced them not too long ago," Weaver said. "But I've learned that you've just got to keep pitching to your strengths and try to hit their weaknesses. So you don't want to change too many things. You just want to keep going with what worked last time."
The Dodgers threatened in the fourth, but Weaver retired Matt Kemp on an inning-ending double-play grounder to third. Kemp, who began the day first in the NL in homers, second in batting average and third in RBIs, has grounded into a team-high 11 double plays.
NOTES: The Angels are averaging 38,775 in attendance through their first 40 home dates. The Dodgers are averaging 36,084 through 43 home dates. The Angels have never finished a season with a higher home attendance total than their Southern California rivals. ... A ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Garret Anderson, who helped the Angels win Game 7 of the 2002 World Series with a tiebreaking three-run double against San Francisco. He spent his final big league season with the Dodgers last year. ... Mike Scioscia's 131st interleague victory as a manager tied Joe Torre's record. Sunday's series finale ends the Angels' slate against NL clubs.

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