Kershaw (fullback) comes out early, though Dodgers momentum builds

SAN FRANCISCO — Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw came out with lower back pain before the start of the fifth inning of Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Giants at Oracle Park.

As he warmed up to throw the fifth, Kershaw felt his back tighten after his penultimate warm-up throw. He then tried to throw one more to test the back, but immediately headed for the Dodgers dugout. He left the match with coach Thomas Albert.

Kershaw said he will know more after seeing how he wakes up on Friday and after a series of exams. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also said there is still a level of concern regarding Kershaw’s back, but they won’t have much information until Friday.

“It’s a fair amount,” Kershaw said, when asked how frustrating it was to deal with more back issues. “I just felt something locking in there in the fifth. I couldn’t really throw after that.

The future Hall of Famer has struggled with back issues throughout his career, ending up on the injured reserve with a back injury in five of his past seven seasons. Kershaw has missed less than three weeks in each of those stints on the injured list. This season, Kershaw has missed a month with inflammation of the right SI joint, which erupted on a cross-country flight.

Although the Dodgers will know more after the tests, another stint on the disabled list for Kershaw isn’t out of the blue.

“I’m not going to try to go overboard,” Roberts said. “Obviously any time a pitcher has to come out of a game there is a level of concern. Again, given that it’s his back, which has been problematic at times, we won’t know more until we do some testing.

If Kershaw is forced to run out of time, it will be another big blow for the Dodgers. When healthy, Kershaw was one of the club’s best pitchers, posting a 2.64 ERA over 15 starts. The Dodgers did not trade for a starting pitcher by the August 2 trade deadline. Instead, they traded right-hander Mitch White – their best piece of depth.

Dustin May, who pitched four innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City during his rehab assignment on Wednesday, will need at least one more outing in the minors before he is a candidate to replace any starts Kershaw may miss. Ryan Pepiot, who has a 2.76 ERA in four starts this season, is also an option.

Seeing Kershaw leave the game was about the only thing wrong for the Dodgers on their 7-1 road trip against the Rockies and Giants. LA has won eight straight against the Giants, sweeping them in a four-game series at San Francisco for the first time since 1977.

The Dodgers’ dominance and the Giants’ frustration showed in the sixth inning as reliever Jarlín García scoffed at Los Angeles’ celebration of success after knocking out Cody Bellinger and James Outman. After the second punch ended the frame, García pointed Mookie Betts, who was on the circle on the bridge, as he walked off the court. Betts was an exception.

“I don’t know. I didn’t do anything. It all surprised me,” said Betts, who hit his 25th homer of the season to give the Dodgers the lead in the fourth. felt a certain way. I don’t know. You have to ask him.

After the game, García said he had no intention of disrespecting any of the Dodgers players and that the Giants were there to compete as well. García also said that Betts was “one of my favorite players”. But García just swelled the Dodgers, who were even more spirited after Trea Turner’s homer in the seventh.

“I’m not going to back down at that point,” Betts said. “I’m not going to run away. I won’t encourage him, but I won’t run away.

Over the past month and a half, the Dodgers (72-33) haven’t shied away from a challenge. They have 39 games over .500 and have a 21 1/2 game lead in the NL West over the third-placed Giants. Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers are 12-3, the Majors’ best mark.

Although a stoned Kershaw was a hit for the rotation, the Dodgers clicked on all cylinders for a long stretch. It seems like a good time to host the Padres on Friday, the first meeting since San Diego acquired Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Brandon Drury.

“We play really good baseball,” Roberts said. “We do things to win baseball games. It’s really, really good to see.

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