MILWAUKEE — Cody Bellinger had the biggest hit in a game that will be remembered more for so many swings and misses.
The rookie homered in the 12th inning off Milwaukee Brewers reliever Neftali Feliz, salvaging a 2-1 win Friday for the Los Angeles Dodgers on a night when ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw recorded his 2,000th strikeout.
It was just the start of a night full of whiffs, especially for the Brewers.
Los Angeles pitching had a franchise-record 26 strikeouts, handing the Brewers the dubious distinction of tying the major league mark for most whiffs in a game.
Both teams combined for 42 strikeouts, a National League record.
“Strikeouts were a little bit contagious today. Sometimes you just kind of get on that roll,” Kershaw said.
Kenley Jansen (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win, stranding the potential tying run at third with one out in the speedy Jonathan Villar by striking out Orlando Arcia looking and getting Travis Shaw to pop out to short.
Jansen earned a milestone too. His strikeout of Hernan Perez in the 11th was his 36th of the season without having allowed a walk all year, setting a major league mark.
But Bellinger had the biggest hit after lining a 1-2 fastball from Feliz (1-5) into the right-field bleachers to break the 1-1 tie. Yasmani Grandal had tied the game with one out in the ninth by lining a 3-1 fastball from closer Corey Knebel over the wall in right-center.
Lost in the late-inning power surge was the duel between starting pitchers Kershaw and Jimmy Nelson.
Domingo Santana had the only run off Kershaw, hitting a 1-0 fastball down the middle of the plate deep to left-center in the seventh to end a stretch of 20 in a row retired by the lefty. It was a rare mistake in a game in which Kershaw fanned a season-high 14, one off his career high.
“You’re going to have a hard time winning a game striking out that many times but it was a very well-pitched game,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Both sides pitched outstanding. … They hit one more home run that us.”
Nelson was just as effective for the Brewers, tying a career high with 11 strikeouts and allowing five hits over eight strong innings.
“His stuff is electric,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “In the zone, there’s life in the zone. He really matched Clayton pitch-by-pitch. As a baseball fan, it was really fun to watch.”
Kershaw recorded his 2,000th strikeout in 1,837 2/3 career innings. The Dodgers said he was the third-fastest pitcher in major league history to reach the milestone. Pedro Martinez reached the plateau in 1,715 1/3 innings, and Randy Johnson was next at 1,734 innings.”
“It will be cool someday, I guess when you retire you look back at that stuff,” Kershaw said about the milestone.
Nelson hasn’t allowed a walk in his last 18 innings. The right-hander became the first player in franchise history to have consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts without issuing a walk.
“He’s able to throw off-speed early in the count,” Counsell said. “He’s got three pitches available to him and he’s using them very well really at all times in any count.”
Wheeler, 26, saw his first major league action this year with Minnesota, allowing five runs — three earned — in three innings in two relief appearances.
Dodgers: Roberts said that LHP Alex Wood (shoulder) could start throwing by the end of the weekend, and that tests on Wood’s AC joint came back negative. Wood might return for the Dodgers’ series next weekend at home against the Reds, Roberts said. … Tests on LHP Adam Liberatore (forearm) revealed no nerve or ligament damage, and Roberts said the reliever would probably be sidelined a couple weeks after going on the 10-day DL on Wednesday.
Brewers: Ryan Braun is running on a treadmill for the first time since going on the DL for a left calf injury, though the outfielder says there is no timetable for his return. Braun went on the 10-day DL on May 26, the second time he had been sidelined this year for the injury.
LHP Rich Hill (2-2) takes the hill for the Dodgers in the second game of the three-game set in Milwaukee. Hill is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in six career games against the Brewers, including five starts. RHP Matt Garza (2-2) goes for the Brewers. He is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers.
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