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Ninth Inning Mars Kuroda-Kershaw Duel

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It takes something special to displace everything that is cloyingly sentimental and grandiose about a Dodgers-Yankees matchup.

There were the celebrities, Kobe Bryant hobnobbing with Tommy Lasorda while Dallas Cowboys stars Demarcus Ware and Jason Witten mingle with Cristiano Ronaldo and Samuel L. Jackson. There was the hubbub of Mariano Rivera's final appearance at the Ravine, the Dodgers 19-5 record in July.

But while all of this existed outside of the white lines that mark the field, something very special was brewing in between those lines: a Hiroki Kuroda-Clayton Kershaw pitching battle. The former Dodger Kuroda went seven innings giving up only five hits while Kershaw went eight innings giving up five hits.

"I have a lot of respect for Hiro and what he's doing over there," Kershaw said. "I knew I was in for a tough night. He's been pitching great all year. I didn't really expect anything different."

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The first bit of trouble Kershaw got into was in the second inning when he gave up one-out singles to Vernon Wells and Brent Lillibridge.

"I didn't have great fastball command," Kershaw admitted. "I was falling behind a lot of guys, but I was fortunate tonight I got some one-outs and was able to keep my pitch count down thankfully."

He got Laynce Nix to pop up to short and Chris Stewart to ground out to end the threat.

Kershaw also got into trouble with two-out singles to Stewart and pinch-hitter Melky Mesa before Brett Gardner flew out to left. It was at that point that manager Don Mattingly more or less knew Kershaw was done.

"I asked him how he was after that," Mattingly said. "We can tell now with Clayton that it's either, 'I'm good, I got this,' or he gives you a different answer. He won't ever tell you he won't go back out.

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"But you can tell that he was running out of gas."

Kershaw is never one to cause a controversy, but deep down there seemed to be a bit of fire there.

"It was tough," Kershaw said. "I put Donnie in a tough spot. I'm sure he said something about it, so we'll leave it with what he said."

When pressed to expand, Kershaw repeated, "We'll leave it with that, then."

After how masterful the first eight innings went, a baseball purist's wet dream, then the ninth inning happened which clues into why Kershaw still had a bit of seething.

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Ronald Belisario led off the ninth by walking Derek Jeter, a phrase that never ends well. With Eduardo Nunez on to pinch-run for Jeter, Robinson Cano grounded into a force and Alfonso Soriano grounded to third. Ichiro Suzuki came on to pinch hit for Wells and was intentionally walked.

With Lyle Overbay in to pinch hit for Lillibridge, the reliable Paco Rodriguez came in to get the final out. Overbay appeared to check his swing on the 0-1 pitch but was ruled a swing by third-base umpire Bill Miller. On the 0-2 pitch in what appeared to be an identical swing, Miller ruled a no swing on the appeal.

"They looked similar," catcher A.J. Ellis said.

On the 1-2 pitch, Overbay lined a single up the middle scoring Cano for the 1-0 lead. And just to make things worse Nix popped up to shallow right field. With Yasiel Puig coming in and second baseman Mark Ellis running out, the two made contact and the ball fell onto the field.

"It was just a pop up in a tough spot, and I dropped it," Mark said. "I just dropped it."

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Puig did call for the ball, but Mark didn't hear it until the last minute. "It was too late to get out of the way. I tried to go up and catch it."

Two runs scored, and Mattingly made another pitching change bringing in Brandon League. However instead of going back to the dugout, he walked over to Miller and argued the check swing call.

"I figured he missed the first or he missed the second since they were the same swing," Mattingly said. Miller ejected Mattingly.

WIth the 3-0 lead, it was child's play for Mariano Rivera to pick up his 34rd save. There were no broken bats in the ninth, but with the 3-0 loss the Dodgers four-game win streak was broken.

The trade deadline came and went with the Dodgers acquiring catcher Drew Butera from the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Butera was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque and will figure to be part of the September call ups when active rosters expand to the 40-man roster.

But that was it. "The relative market for relief pitching was not very robust," general manager Ned Colletti said.

While the non-waiver deadline has passed, the waiver wires are still open for business in August. Colletti has been known to make big deals in the past like Greg Maddux, Vicente Padilla, Jim Thome, Jon Garland, and of course last year's trade with the Red Sox that brought Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett.

With how quiet the non-waiver market was, Colletti didn't anticipate the waiver market being busy.

"It will be the same as it always is," Colletti said. "I think there will be some trades. It's really a strategic time. You don't know who's going to claim to block, who's going to claim because there's interest. Whenever you claim though, you've better be prepared because that salary may be coming your way."