Altherr’s slam helps Phillies beat Dodgers, Kershaw
PHILADELPHIA — Clayton Kershaw looked every bit the perennial Cy Young Award candidate for much of the Monday night game. However, a few mistakes turned a potential win into a loss.
Aaron Altherr hit a sixth-inning grand slam off Kershaw — the first the star pitcher has ever allowed — to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park.
“Any time you beat Kershaw, it’s really nice to see,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
The Dodgers (96-54) took a 2-0 lead with back-to-back home runs to open the first inning, and they still held that edge entering the sixth inning against the seemingly lifeless Phillies (59-91). Kershaw (17-4) had allowed two hits through the first five innings.
Pinch hitter Ty Kelly, batting for Phillies starting pitcher Nick Pivetta (6-10), led off the sixth inning with a walk, the first free pass Kershaw allowed. An out was followed by a bloop single off the bat of shortstop Freddy Galvis, putting the tying run aboard.
Kershaw struck out Nick Williams for the second out, bringing rookie slugger Rhys Hoskins to the plate. Hoskins, who has dominated headlines with power numbers in his first month-plus, worked a seven-pitch walk.
Altherr, the next batter, swung and missed at a first-pitch slider before letting a curveball go by in the dirt. Kershaw’s 1-1 pitch was another breaking ball, a slider that stayed up in the zone and barely broke. Altherr pounded it to the upper deck in left field for his second career grand slam.
Kershaw had pitched 1,922 career innings without allowing a grand slam.
“It’s obviously pretty special to be the first one to do it,” Altherr said. “He’s obviously a really good pitcher. ... It’s always a little bit different. You try to make it just another game, but deep down you know it’s really not because of how good he is and how good he’s been over the years. He’s a future Hall of Famer.”
Kershaw said, “Just bad pitches, I guess. The pitch to Altherr was a bad slider. We had the lead, and I blew it.”
The offensive outburst turned a loss into a win for Pivetta, who allowed just the two first-inning runs in six innings. He gave up four hits and struck out eight against two walks.
Los Angeles outfielder Chris Taylor led off the game with an inside-the-park home run off the wall in left-center. That was followed by a home run from third baseman Justin Turner to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead five pitches into the game.
Pivetta was rarely in trouble again. He induced an inning-ending double play from Yasiel Puig with runners at first and third in the third and then retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced.
“He started off a little shaky,” Mackanin said. “He settled down and had a really good next five innings. The thing I like about him is he really thinks he’s good. He believes in himself and he doesn’t quit.”
Kershaw’s night was finished after the sixth. The lefty surrendered four runs on four hits while striking out six and walking two.
“I think he really pitched good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The two walks in the inning were very uncharacteristic of him. Altherr put a really good swing on a breaking ball. It was a big surprise to all of us.”
Hector Neris recorded his 22nd save for the Phillies despite allowing a solo homer to Curtis Granderson in the ninth. He struck out Corey Seager and Yasmani Grandal after the home run to end the game. Neris has converted 16 consecutive save opportunities.
“He looked like he was eager to go right after the hitters, even when he gave up the home run,” Mackanin said. “He didn’t back off. He went right after them.”
The Phillies have won five of seven.
The Dodgers lost a second game in a row after a four-game winning streak. They ended an 11-game skid on Sept. 12.
NOTES: Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw fell to 3-5 lifetime vs. Philadelphia. The Phillies are one of only three teams Kershaw has a losing record against. ... The Dodgers haven’t lost a series in Philadelphia since 2011. ... In game two of four Tuesday night, the Dodgers send RHP Yu Darvish (9-12, 4.08 ERA) to the mound to face Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (11-10, 3.60).