Clayton Kershaw saw two things come to an end Monday with one swing of the bat.
OK, so maybe no Little League coach ever said that last one, but Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta did it anyways Monday night. He had faced 103 batters in his career with the bases loaded and never allowed a grand slam. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Altherr's home run broke Kershaw's 32-inning scoreless streak against Philadelphia - his longest versus any team in his career. Philadelphia is one of only three teams against which Kershaw owns a losing record, as he is 3-4 in 11 career starts but has posted a 2.92 ERA and one shutout.
Kershaw departed after the sixth and allowed four runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. I just wanted to make sure I got the head out. Chris Taylor, Justin Turner and Curtis Granderson all hit solo home runs for Los Angeles.
Is the home run obsession in baseball responsible for the damage being done to Kershaw just like every other pitcher - or is it a sign of his growing mortality as his 30th birthday approaches?
"That's obviously pretty special to be the first one to do that", said Aaron Altherr, who provided the grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning.More news: United Nations at crossroads
Rhys Hoskins went 1-2 with a single and a walk. Running hard all the way - "I thought it was going to be a deep flyout, I thought I got under it too much", he said - Taylor stepped on second as the ball first bounced on the outfield grass after the insane carom.
Following the grand slam, Altherr improved his slash line to.276/.348/.521 along with 17 home runs, 55 RBI, and 51 runs scored in 362 plate appearances.
Monday was Kershaw's fourth start since returning from a lower back strain and Roberts said he is "right where you would expect" given the five-week layoff.
Altherr's slam gave the Phillies a lead no one in Citizens Bank Park had reason to expect. "We had the lead and I blew it and we lost, so there's not a lot of progress there to be had".
They beat the Giants twice in San Francisco, then rolled into Washington and took two of three from the Nationals to reduce their magic number in the NL West to four. "You can see him feeling for things". "I definitely don't take it for granted".