SAN FRANCISCO – Clayton Kershaw supported Mookie Betts and other black baseball players with his thoughtful words when his Dodgers decided not to play to protest racial injustice.
Once Los Angeles returned to the field, Kershaw pitched six scoreless innings on Thursday, leading first-place Los Angeles to the San Francisco Giants 7-0 in Game 1 of a double shutout.
“For guys hanging out and not playing a major league game is a big deal,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said ahead of the first game of two seven-innings competitions.
Joc Pederson hit a homerun and Will Smith added an RBI brace as the Dodgers won the nightcap 2-0. They used relievers and didn’t allow a baserunner before Brandon Belt’s debut single in the fifth – San Francisco’s only shot until Belt held up a single in the seventh.
“Right now I have a ton of confidence in Brandon Belt,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said.
The Dodgers recorded two shutouts in one day for the first time since September 19, 1971 against Atlanta.
AJ Pollock had a two-run homerun and Betts became the fourth fastest among active players to hit 1,000 hits in his 824th game with his sixth inning single in Game 1. The souvenir balloon was quickly retrieved, authenticated and placed in a protective box.
Betts almost didn’t play anymore. He had originally planned to sit on Thursday after speaking to Roberts late Wednesday, then switched positions.
Roberts said the Dodgers have stayed together to decide how to proceed after the postponement.
“Regardless of the double title he wasn’t going to play, he felt he wanted to continue to stand firm on his position, which I absolutely respect and support,” said Roberts. “But speaking to him this morning … talking to the Alliance players and black players in the league, they just came to a consensus that they could make more use of their platform while playing today. ‘hui, playing both games.
“And also the fact that there were a lot of white teammates standing by their side not playing, recognizing that and continuing to stick together and play and keep in touch with their teammates was very important.”
Kershaw (4-1) won his third straight start and avenged a loss to the Giants on August 8 by striking out four goals and allowing no marches. Josh Sborz completed the four-stroke shutout. Victor Gonzalez (2-0) pitched 2 1/3 innings for the victory of the second game, ended by Kenley Jansen for his eighth save after missing his first chance on Tuesday.
Kershaw’s delivery one evening earlier was also appreciated by his teammates.
“As a white player on this team … how do we show our support? What tangible can we do to help our black brothers on this team?” Kershaw said in support of Betts not playing on Wednesday. “Once Mookie said he wasn’t going to play, it really started our team conversation about what we could do to support this.”
He said he went to bed on Wednesday expecting Los Angeles to play doubles as planned.
“Mookie handled that really well. We’re kind of following his lead by trying to back him up as best we can,” Kershaw said. “It was a difficult time. It has been a difficult time for him personally, the black community in general. I’m just trying to find different ways, what it looks like.
Austin Barnes doubled in two to mark the Dodgers’ fourth of four points, as they also got RBI singles from Pederson and Corey Seager.
NL’s best Los Angeles (24-9) broke San Francisco’s seven-game winning streak after the Giants claimed a 10-8 win in the series opener on Tuesday.
“From a baseball perspective it was good to have two wins today. Last night was a huge time for us as a team and an organization,” said Smith. “It was nice to be a part of.”
Giants starter Logan Webb (2-3) was finished after 3 2/3 innings, scored for five runs on four hits. Kevin Gausman (1-2) took the loss late in the game.
“These last few days have been weird, but you have to be good to go when they tell you to start,” said Gausman, who was originally scheduled to launch on Wednesday.
Rivals NL West ended their season with the seven-time defending Dodgers champions, winning 6-4.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (1-0, 4.32 ERA) was placed on the injured list with a blister on his throwing hand. It had been set up to start the original game on Thursday night. “This is the first time Walker has had a light bulb,” said Roberts. “He was very disappointed.” Buehler had his best outing of the shortened season last Friday. The 2019 All-Star, the 26-year-old right-hander allowed one run and subtracted 11 runs in six innings of a win over Colorado. The blister developed late on Buehler’s last departure and did not heal as quickly as expected. “It just doesn’t make sense for us (to push it) so that’s kind of the idea behind it,” Roberts said.
MOVING THE LIST
Dodgers: recalled RHP Mitch White, who joined the active roster for the second time this season after making the 40-man roster in November. He didn’t make an appearance in his last stint and his next game will be his major league debut.
Giants: Added OF Luis Basabe to the roster as the 29th man for Game 2.
Dustin May (1-1, 2.79 ERA) throws for LA in the opening game of a weekend series in Texas.
Manager Gabe Kapler named Tyler Anderson (1-1, 3.45) the starter in the series opener on Friday in Arizona.
AP Sports Editor Beth Harris contributed to this report.
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