The Dodgers losing streak ended at 11 last night as Clayton Kershaw played the stopper in a 5-3 win over the Giants.
It wasn’t necessarily easy. Kershaw, while picking up his 17th win of the year, was not dominant, surrendering a homer to Kelby Tomlinson in the third inning before Chase Utley tied it up with a homer of his own in the fourth. L.A. scored three more in that frame thanks to a Corey Seager sac fly and a two-run double from Yasiel Puig. Kershaw would work out of a major jam in the sixth inning — the Giants loaded the bases with no one out but came away with only one run — and left the mound with fist pumps and yells and stuff.
Reliever Ross Stripling allowed one more run to make it 4-3 in the seventh but Justin Turner doubled home a run to make it 5-3 in the eight. Things got shaky again for the Dodgers in the ninth as Kenley Jansen gave up three singles to load the bases with one out before bearing down to strike out Buster Posey and Nick Hundley to secure the win.
It was only one game but it was a big relief for the reeling Dodgers who, in addition to stopping the streak, clinched at least the second Wild Card in the National League, ensuring their fifth straight playoff appearance. They also notched their 93rd win. They have 17 games left and, on balance, they come against losing teams. If they end the season with 100 wins and some semblance of momentum heading into the playoffs, this skid will be a mere footnote.
Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.
Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.
J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.
This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.