The Nationals won Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cardinals yesterday in thrilling fashion thanks to a walkoff solo home run from Jayson Werth. And Nationals Park is rocking again after one inning tonight.
Werth led off the bottom of the first inning with a double off Adam Wainwright before the scuffling Bryce Harper drove him home with a triple off the center field wall. Ryan Zimmerman then connected on a two-run homer to center field to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead. Three batters, three runs. That’s pretty darn efficient.
Wainwright responded by striking out Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse and Ian Desmond to end the inning, but he has already dug himself an early hole. Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez has a nice cushion to work with as he heads back to the mound for the top of the second inning.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.