Clayton Kershaw won the opener with seven strong innings. Mookie Betts scored five runs in the nightcap and the Los Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs 7-2 and 6-2 to win a split doubleheader.
Kershaw and Betts kept the Dodgers rolling, with Betts and Kershaw continuing to win. Betts scored a three-run double against Keegan Thompson in Game 2, to cap a four run rally. He also added a two-run homer to the ninth to make it 6-2.
Los Angeles had only one hit, Freddie Freeman’s single in the ninth. The NL Central’s leaders drew nine runs on their way to their 17th win after 22 games.
Kershaw (4-0), scattered five hits, while striking out two and walking one. The three-time Cy Young Award winner bounced back from a tough-luck loss to Detroit in which he surpassed Hall of Famer Don Sutton as the Dodgers’ career strikeout leader.
This was also a significant improvement on his previous appearance at Wrigley. Kershaw was only able to last one inning in May 2021’s opener of a doubleheader day-night. The Dodgers lost 7-1.
Tyler Anderson (3-0), pitched five innings, giving up two runs and four hits in the second game. The left-hander struck seven out and walked one.
Daniel Hudson pitched the sixth. Brusdar Graterol threw the sixth inning before Craig Kimbrel, a former Cub pitcher, pitched the ninth.
Willson Contreras from Chicago hit a solo homer on the fifth. He also scored a triple in the first and singled the eighth. The Cubs lost the ninth game in a row.
After Daniel Norris (0-2), who walked the first three batters to load bases, the Dodgers scored the fourth.
Hanser Alberto scored two runs against Thompson and Betts hit a three-run double down left field on a 3-2 pitch, giving Los Angeles a 4-1 lead.
Contreras made it 4-2 with his long drive left in the fifth.
Norris gave up three runs in his first appearance since 2020. He walked three times, struck out one, and did not allow any hits.
Freeman scored twice, and he doubled three more times in the opening game. Austin Barnes drove in three runs and scored home.
Kershaw combined with two relievers for Los Angeles’ third shutout of the season on a windy afternoon.
“Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good,”Kershaw stated. “Those first couple innings, they hit a lot of balls hard and right at guys. The wind was swirling, pushing the ball in a little bit.”
Sloppy play on the bases and in the field caused injury to the Cubs. They were also thrown out for the first times since an 10-0 defeat by Milwaukee on August 11, 2021.
Drew Smyly (1-3), pitched for 4 1/3 innings after his return from bereavement. The left-hander suffered his third straight loss, allowing six hits and two earned runs in just his first start since April 28.
“I think he’s throwing great,”Manager David Ross stated. “I think eight days off is tough to be sharp. We saw first inning uncharacteristic of him not consistent with where he wanted to go. I think the rust got knocked off but threw extremely well, to be honest with you. Just high pitch count, eight days off and got up to 100. The most he’s been at. I thought he threw well and gave us a chance to win.”
Dodgers: RHP Blake Treinen (right-shoulder discomfort) will be seen at an MRI in Los Angeles Monday. Since April 14, Treinen has been off the field. LHP Andrew Heaney (shoulder swelling) was supposed to throw this weekend.
Cubs: Cubs’ 3B Patrick Wisdom was injured in the left ankle and left the game immediately after the sixth inning. LHP Wade Miley is due to throw a bullpen session Sunday. In a rehab against St. Paul, he tossed four scoreless innings for Triple-A Iowa. “Efficient. Quick,” Ross said. “It’s always nice to get on there and watch it and it takes you about three minutes, as fast as he works. He felt good coming out of it.”SS Andrelton Simmons (right side shoulder inflammation) began a rehab assignment in Iowa on Saturday. RHP Alec Mills (strained lowerback) will begin throwing off the mound within the next few days.
RHP Walker Buehler (3-2, 2.12 ERA), is looking to win his third consecutive Los Angeles start, while Chicago’s RHP Marcus Stroman 1-3, 5.13, aims to improve on a win at Milwaukee. Buehler pitched five scoreless innings against Detroit in May 1st, his first ever career shutout.