SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Clayton Kershaw wasn’t happy with his second start of the spring. The third, he said, was much better.
Kershaw threw five scoreless innings and Scott Van Slyke hit his third home run of the spring in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 6-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
Kershaw gave up two hits, both in the first inning, striking out three and walking one.
“I still went through some spurts there where I was messing up a little bit and didn’t make the adjustments as fast as I probably needed to,” he said, “but overall it was definitely an improvement I’d say.”
The Dodgers ace left-hander, winner of the NL Cy Young award three of the last five seasons, has allowed one run in 10 innings this spring. He intended to go four innings but needed one more inning to hit his goal of 60 pitches.
“Good to get to go five I guess,” Kershaw said. “Obviously four was the goal today but the pitch count was low, which was great, and getting back up and down, that’s really more important than the pitch count to some extent.”
Kershaw threw 61 pitches, 37 strikes.
Van Slyke led off the second with a home run of Jordan Lyles onto the grassy slope beyond the left field fence. Cody Bellinger doubled twice for the Dodgers and drove in two runs.
Kershaw, who led the majors with nine pickoffs last season, gave up a leadoff single to Charlie Blackmon in the first inning then promptly picked him off. Nolan Arenado followed with a one-out single, the only other hit Kershaw permitted.
Kershaw retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced. The exceptions came when Ryan Rayburn walked to start the fourth and Nick Hundley reached on a throwing error by shortstop Enrique Hernandez with two outs in the fifth.
“The first inning he was up a little bit,” manager Dave Roberts said, “then he just kind of settled in nicely.”
Van Slyke is hitting .409 this spring. Andre Ethier led off the Dodgers’ three-run third with a triple down the right field line and is batting .438. Los Angeles has nine triples this spring, all by different players.
The Rockies used a designated hitter and the Dodgers didn’t, because Kershaw wanted some at bats. He flew out to left, struck out and walked on four pitches.
Lyles, who figures to be the fourth or fifth starter in the Colorado rotation, had a rough third outing of the spring, allowing four runs on five hits in 2 1-3 innings.
The Rockies right-hander struck out the first two he faced in a 1-2-3 first inning, but had a rough time after that.
“Fastball command,” he said. “I fell behind, a walk to the pitcher on four pitches, just a lot of bad counts.”
Now Lyles wants to quickly move on.
“I guess that’s the good thing about spring training,” he said. “You can have these type of outings and it’s a lot easier to get over it and move on to the next day. During the season, it’s going to stay with you a little longer even though you don’t want it to.”
Dodgers: An MRI on shortstop Corey Seager’s left knee showed a mild sprain. He is expected to be sidelined one to two weeks. Seager had feared he had turn his meniscus. Left-hander Alex Wood was scratched from Saturday’s scheduled start due to what was described as mild tightness in his left forearm.
Dodgers: Roberts announced after the game that Mike Bolsinger would get his first start of the spring Monday when the Dodgers host Milwaukee in Glendale.
Rockies: Tyler Chatwood makes his second start and third appearance of the spring for Colorado in Rockies’ game Monday at Seattle in Peoria.