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DODGERS FYI

Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw can't keep himself in the zone

The young left-hander has another strong outing to beat Brewers but laments the five walks that helped limit him to six-plus innings.

July 13, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

MILWAUKEE — Looking ahead to the second half of the season, Clayton Kershaw pointed to certain elements of his start Sunday as examples of where he had to grow.

His numbers looked all right, as he held the Milwaukee Brewers to a run and two hits in six innings at Miller Park in the Dodgers' 7-4 victory. The 21-year-old left-hander won his fourth consecutive decision to improve his record to 7-5, and the start was his sixth in a row that resulted in a Dodgers win.

But . . .

"I had some dumb walks," Kershaw said.

He issued back-to-back free passes that loaded the bases in a 33-pitch first inning. He escaped the jam by striking out Mike Cameron on a low full-count fastball.

"I got bailed out there," he said. "It was a ball."

He also said he was fortunate to not pay a price for walking Prince Fielder in the sixth. Matt Kemp caught a fly ball by Casey McGehee and doubled Fielder off first base.

"That was huge," Kershaw said.

He didn't give up a hit from the second inning to the sixth.

"This kid's a tough kid," Manager Joe Torre said. "He keeps battling it. He doesn't back off, he really doesn't."

The only run charged to him came in the seventh, when he gave up a double to Cameron and was replaced by Hiroki Kuroda, who promptly served up a run-scoring double by Bill Hall. Until that run scored, Kershaw had pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings.

Reaching the seventh inning wasn't enough, Kershaw said after making 103 pitches and lowering his earned-run average to 3.16.

"I have to cut down on pitches," he said. "Today, when our bullpen is a little banged-up, I need to get through seven or eight [innings]. One of these days I'm going to try to not salvage. I'm going to try to pitch consistent all the way through and make it through the seventh, eighth inning."

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Milton: 'It's not looking too good'

Barely able to walk across the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park, Eric Milton said he was unsure whether he will pitch again this season.

"Obviously, it's not looking too good right now," he said. "They say it's pretty severe."

The Dodgers' sidelined No. 5 starter is scheduled to be examined in Los Angeles today by Dr. Robert Watkins, who will determine whether he will undergo season-ending back surgery to repair a herniated disk.

Milton shook his head as he recounted how he was hurt. Working out in the outfield at Citi Field in New York on Thursday, Milton said he made a sudden turn and started to sprint.

"It was like someone shot me," the 33-year-old left-hander said.

Whatever Watkins' verdict, Milton said he doesn't intend to retire at the end of the season. He spent the last two years recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery but said the prospect of another lengthy rehabilitation process didn't scare him.

"I'm kind of used to the rehab," he said. "I'd love for somebody to take a chance and give me the opportunity to make another team in spring training."

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Short hops

James Loney has an 11-game hitting streak. . . . Jason Schmidt gave up four runs (three earned) and six hits in five innings for triple-A Albuquerque. Because the window of his rehabilitation assignment is about to expire, the Dodgers will have to activate Schmidt, release him or have him start a new stint on the disabled list.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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