Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were back in the Dodgers’ starting lineup last night, but it was Mark Ellis who played hero. Ellis, who recently returned after missing six weeks due to emergency surgery on his leg, delivered a go-ahead two-run homer off Clayton Richard in the bottom of the sixth inning as part of a 2-1 victory over the Padres.
Clayton Kershaw had a rough outing against the Diamondbacks before the All-Star break, but he bounced back last night by tossing six innings of one-run ball. The southpaw struck out six and walked one in the victory and now holds a 2.84 ERA and 125/35 K/BB ratio over 126 2/3 innings. Kenley Jansen danced around a two-out walk for his 16th save. The hard-throwing right-hander hasn’t allowed a run since June 13.
Kemp was 2-for-4 with a double and a single in his return the lineup while Ethier went 0-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch.
The Giants also won last night, so the Dodgers will open play this evening with a slim half-game lead in the National League West.
Your Friday box scores:
Diamondbacks 1, Cubs 8
Tigers 7, Orioles 2
Nationals 5, Marlins 1
Angels 5, Yankees 6
Cardinals 3, Reds 5
Indians 1, Blue Jays 0
Mets 5, Braves 7
Red Sox 3, Rays 1
Pirates 7, Brewers 10
Athletics 6, Twins 3
Phillies 2, Rockies 6
White Sox 9, Royals 8 (14 innings)
Rangers 3, Mariners 2
Astros 1, Giants 5
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.