GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw struggled in his final start before opening the regular season in Australia, allowing five runs on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings in the Dodgers’ 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night.
Kershaw struck out five and walked one.
“I felt fine. I’m glad these don’t count,” Kershaw said.
Chicago leadoff hitter Adam Eaton hit a line drive at center fielder Joc Pederson, who misplayed it, allowing Eaton to circle the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning off the first pitch he saw from Kershaw and finished 2 for 3 with four RBIs.
“There’s not much else you can say other than it’s time to get going, it’s the regular season now,” Kershaw said. “It wasn’t great, there was some improvement in the middle innings, but obviously that home run didn’t help.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he was “OK” with Kershaw’s performance on the hill, but he knew his two-time Cy Young award winner wouldn’t be.
“I’m sure Kersh is not happy with it,” Mattingly said. “I think there were stretches where he would get into a little rhythm and everything was kind of him doing what he wanted to do, and then you could see him throw a ball and not go where he wanted and be frustrated.”
White Sox: Tabbed Chicago’s opening day starter, Chris Sale pitched 4 1-3 innings Saturday night, allowing two hits and two runs, one earned, while walking two and striking out five. Both runs he surrendered came in the first inning, setting down 10 of the final 13 batters he faced before being removed for Ronald Belisario.
Dodgers: Despite Kershaw’s hiccup Saturday night, the reigning Cy Young award-winner will start his fourth consecutive season opener when Los Angeles takes on the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney next Saturday.
“Obviously I don’t want to have a 9 ERA in the regular season, so I’m going to try not to have that,” said Kershaw, who will take an 18-hour flight to Australia with the rest of the Dodgers on Sunday night.
Kershaw is 0-3 with a 9.20 ERA in four starts this spring after becoming the major leagues’ highest paid pitcher by signing a seven-year, $215 million deal in January.
White Sox: Second baseman Gordon Beckham injured his left oblique and will be sidelined for at least seven days.