Win: Clayton Kershaw (14-2)
Loss: JImmy Nelson (2-3)
HR: A.J. Ellis (1)
Dodgers' starter Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game. Of that, I think there can be very little dispute. Others -- a healthy Matt Harvey, Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish -- may be close, but if given the choice I'm not sure anyone would choose someone other than Kershaw to build their rotation around.
Thus, it feels almost like a victory of sorts that the Brewers were able to score even one run against the 26-year-old southpaw. That lone run came in the first inning when Carlos Gomez led off with a walk, stole second base, then scored on a Ryan Braun single.
Milwaukee had a couple other opportunities. Jimmy Nelson led off the third inning with a double, but was tossed out at third when Carlos Gomez grounded out to the left side. Gomez was then picked off himself. In the fourth inning, Ryan Braun led off with a single, then advanced on a wild pitch but was out trying to take third.
In the fifth, Rickie Weeks led off with a double and moved to third on a Mark Reynolds out. Down 2-1 at the time, the Brewers elected to have Jean Segura attempt a squeeze bunt. His first attempt went foul. His second attempt was popped up. Kershaw made a great play diving for the catch, then easily tossed the breaking Weeks out at third.
Against a pitcher like Kershaw, who gave up just six hits in eight innings, a team needs to take every chance they can get. The Brewers failed to capitalize on most of their opportunities. Thus, a loss.
Jimmy Nelson wasn't bad today, allowing two runs on eight hits over six innings. He didn't have his best stuff, but he was able to go toe-to-toe with Kershaw and keep Milwaukee in the game. Kershaw didn't just get it done on the mound, but also did well at the plate, scoring the first Dodgers run on a sac fly after being hit by a pitch, then later doubling.
After Estrada exited, Tom Gorzelanny gave up an unearned run and Marco Estrada looked like starter Estrada and not reliever Estrada.
Still, the Brewers took two out of three against the Dodgers. That's nothing to sneeze at. They may have lost today, but were this a playoff series Kershaw they would still be in a nice position.
Up next is a bit of a less tough task as the Brewers take on the Cubs.