Dodgers beat Mets 5-0 behind Kershaw’s 13 Ks

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LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw is on a winning roll and doing it ever so efficiently.

He tossed a three-hitter, Yasmani Grandal hit a three-run homer and Chase Utley added a solo shot to help the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the New York Mets 5-0 Thursday night for a split of the four-game series.

“It was special,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I definitely put my fan hat on.”

Making his 250th career start, Kershaw (5-1) struck out 13 on 108 pitches and walked one to win his third straight. It was the left-hander’s fifth straight start with double-digit strikeouts, a club record. It was also his second shutout this month. He beat San Diego 1-0 on May 1.

“Walking guys is how you get in trouble. I’d rather string hits together and make them swing the bats to beat me. That’s always my mentality,” Kershaw said. “Fortunately, I feel like my mechanics have felt pretty solid the whole season and I’m able to repeat pitches pretty consistently.”

Kershaw dominated in a matchup featuring pitchers with a combined four Cy Young Awards between them, with three belonging to the Dodgers ace. He improved to 7-0 with 74 strikeouts in 10 regular season starts against the Mets.

“He never gives in,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He doesn’t have to stay in the zone to get you out. He’s so dominant. He pitches in well to both sides of the plate. He makes you speed the bat up. His off-speed stuff is tremendous.”

The Dodgers jumped on Bartolo Colon (3-2) with four runs in the first inning. Their first run came on Justin Turner‘s RBI single before Grandal homered off a 2-0 pitch into the right-field pavilion, making it 4-0.

Chase Utley added a two-out homer in the second for a 5-0 lead.

“They were aggressive early in the game. First two guys got base hits on the first swing,” Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki said. “They were aggressive and took advantage of the balls up in the zone.”

The Dodgers came in averaging 2.69 runs at home after averaging 4.2 last year, but they delivered early support for Kershaw, who improved to 81-0 when given four or more runs of support while in the game. Los Angeles is 91-6 in those contests.

“You want to help your pitcher out, especially early in the game,” said Grandal, who homered for the second straight game.

The Mets’ fourth shutout loss of the season dropped them into a first-place tie with Washington atop the NL East.

Colon gave up a season-high five runs and seven hits in five innings, equaling his shortest outing of the season. He struck out three and walked none in losing for the first time since April 9. In his last start, the 42-year-old became the oldest pitcher to homer in the major leagues with a stunning shot in San Diego last week.

“I was throwing strikes and they were jumping on my first pitches,” Colon said through a translator.

 

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question.

Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.”

A Hall of Fame committee delivered its answer Sunday, passing over Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling while handing McGriff the biggest honor of his impressive big league career.

The lanky first baseman, nicknamed the “Crime Dog,” hit .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The five-time All-Star helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot in 2019. Now, he will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the writers’ vote, announced Jan. 24.

“It’s all good. It’s been well worth the wait,” said McGriff, who played his last big league game in 2004.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their 10th and final appearances on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dropped after he made hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

While the 59-year-old McGriff received unanimous support from the 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee – comprised of Hall members, executives and writers – Schilling got seven votes, and Bonds and Clemens each received fewer than four.

The makeup of the committee likely will change over the years, but the vote was another indication that Bonds and Clemens might never make it to the Hall.

This year’s contemporary era panel included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was an executive with Toronto when McGriff made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to be part of the committee, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall.

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A player needs 75% to be elected.

“It’s tough deciding on who to vote for and who not to vote for and so forth,” McGriff said. “So it’s a great honor to be unanimously voted in.”

In addition to all his big hits and memorable plays, one of McGriff’s enduring legacies is his connection to a baseball skills video from youth coach Tom Emanski. The slugger appeared in a commercial for the product that aired regularly during the late 1990s and early 2000s – wearing a blue Baseball World shirt and hat.

McGriff said he has never seen the video.

“Come Cooperstown, I’ve got to wear my blue hat,” a grinning McGriff said. “My Tom Emanski hat in Cooperstown. See that video is going to make a revival now, it’s going to come back.”

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also served on this year’s committee, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy rounded out the eight-man ballot. Mattingly was next closest to election, with eight votes of 12 required. Murphy had six.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their final chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary era committee, was the GM in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.