video thumbnail

ARI@LAD: Lindblom fans five over two shutout frames

LOS ANGELES -- Once the dust had settled and the emotions calmed from a wild start to the sixth inning, Josh Lindblom picked up right where Clayton Kershaw left off.

Kershaw, the Dodgers' lefty ace and a National League Cy Young favorite, had been ejected for hitting Arizona left fielder Gerardo Parra to start the inning. Although there had been no official warnings from the umpires, Major League Baseball phoned both clubs before the game to let them know it would be watching. Home-plate ump Bill Welke didn't hesitate in tossing Kershaw.

That's when a cold Lindblom stepped in and shut down the D-backs for two more innings as the Dodgers held on for a 3-2 win. Four strong innings from the bullpen ensured Kershaw would win his 19th game, tying him for the NL lead with Arizona's Ian Kennedy.

Kershaw was in no mood to talk about the hit-by-pitch after the game, but he insisted it wasn't intentional. The ejection came a night after Parra had hit a home run and paused to admire it too long for Kershaw's liking. The Dodgers' ace shouted at Parra from the top step of the dugout as Parra crossed home plate and turned around to yell back.

"The first at-bat I threw him all away and he hit a double," Kershaw said. "The next at-bat, I've got to pitch him in. It's unfortunate."

The only blemishes on Kershaw's final line were Parra's double and hit-by-pitch. Aside from that, Kershaw had retired all 15 men he faced and said he was felt in control and liked his aggressiveness.

But when Kershaw was asked if he was disappointed to leave the game so early, he sounded surprised.

"No, I'm not disappointed at all," Kershaw said. "We got a win. Our bullpen picked me up."

Manager Don Mattingly, who was ejected for arguing Welke's decision, noted that Lindblom's two shutout innings were the game's turning point.

"It's a key spot," he said. "We're up two and they've got a runner on. The momentum could change there with Clayton coming out of a game he was pretty much dominating. But Josh came in and really did a lot more of the same."

Lindblom was given as much time as he needed to warm up, and filled in nicely. He allowed only one hit to the seven batters he faced while striking out five. He struck out the side in the sixth with Parra watching from first.

Coming in cold in the sixth inning is just another example of Lindblom being the Dodgers' emergency man. Twice already this season, the team has flown Lindblom to Los Angeles from Double-A Chattanooga on red-eye flights, and he was in uniform for both games.

"However I can help this team win, no matter what it is," Lindblom said of his mentality. "If it's coming in like this with a runner on no outs, coming in in the fourth trying to extend. Whatever it might be, at the end of the day all that matters is that we have a 'W' in the win column."

The Dodgers gave Kershaw some support early. Tony Gwynn slid home safely on Matt Kemp's first-inning single, and as he has done plenty of times this season, Gwynn was crafty in his slide. He dived head first to the left of Arizona catcher Miguel Montero and extended his arm across the plate. Then a still-hot Jerry Sands drove in a run three batters later with a single to center. It was his sixth hit in seven at-bats.

Arizona starter Daniel Hudson shut the Dodgers down from there, allowing just those two runs on five hits in seven innings. He said he didn't think Kershaw's pitch to Parra was intentional and noted the importance of throwing inside.

"We still have to get the inside part of the plate," Hudson said. "Even if we're warned, we still have to go inside and get in there. We can't just let guys lean out over the plate because we're scared of being ejected or whatnot."

Ultimately, the biggest run came on Aaron Miles' RBI single in the eighth, which provided the weary Dodgers bullpen with some insurance. Miles lined a single to left and Parra's throw home sailed high, although Kemp likely would have scored anyway, making it 3-1.

Kenley Jansen, filling in for closer Javy Guerra, who threw 38 pitches Tuesday, allowed a run. But he struck out the side, and he froze D-backs center fielder Chris Young on a rare breaking ball to end the game.

Aside from saying that he thought the umpires were being too "protective," Kershaw didn't have much to say about his hit-by-pitch. But he was talkative as ever when asked about Jansen, Lindblom and Nathan Eovaldi -- who was moved to the bullpen earlier this month because of an innings limit and looked sharp in the eighth despite allowing a run.

"Nothing else matters but a win," Kershaw said. "Like I said, the bullpen pitched awesome. Kenley with the save, Nate came in in the eighth -- he's not used to that -- and Blom in those two innings was lights-out."

MLB.com Comments