All-Star Kershaw escapes a 27-pitch fifth inning

Kershaw escapes a 27-pitch fifth inning

All-Star Kershaw escapes a 27-pitch fifth inning
KANSAS CITY -- With a start against the Padres coming up on Friday, Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw didn't want to throw a lot of pitches in his inning of work during the All-Star Game.

He didn't really get his wish, throwing 27 pitches in the fifth inning, but he escaped a bases-loaded jam, and the National League went on to complete an 8-0 shutout in the 83rd Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Kershaw got Adrian Beltre to ground out to open the fifth, but then allowed singles to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. Napoli's hit was a routine fly to left, but rookie Bryce Harper seemingly lost it in the lights and it dropped in behind him. Curtis Granderson grounded out to Kershaw, allowing Ortiz and Napoli to advance to second and third. After a walk to Asdrubral Cabrera, Kershaw suddenly had the bases loaded.


Ian Kinsler flied out to Harper to end the inning.

Kershaw's pitch count shouldn't be too big of a concern, though, considering he also threw three days after last year's All-Star Game. In his first start after the break against the D-backs, he went seven innings, giving up no earned runs with 104 pitches.

"I kind of know what to expect," Kershaw said.

He's eager for the Dodgers to start the second half of the season somewhat healthy. Matt Kemp, who sat out Tuesday's game as a precaution, will return to the lineup on Friday and said he feels his legs are back under him.

Outfielder Andre Ethier, on the disabled list since June 28 with a strained left oblique injury, will play rehabilitation games with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday and Thursday. If all goes well, Ethier could also return to the Dodgers' lineup Friday.

"Yeah, we struggled the last two weeks, but it's going to be awesome to get Andre and Matt back," Kershaw said. "It's a whole new game now."

Kemp has been on disabled list with a strained left hamstring since June 1. He was definitely disappointed that he wasn't able to participate in his second All-Star Game, after being voted into the starting lineup by the fans.

"It's something that I wanted to do," Kemp said. "I have to get ready for the second half. My team is important and I want to be strong for the second half and ready to go."

Before leaving the ballpark on Tuesday, Kemp said he was able to enjoy this All-Star Game a little more than his first one because he wasn't a participant.

"I think they might get a little bit easier when you get old, so hopefully I can get here every year," Kemp said.

In 36 games in 2012, Kemp is batting .355 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs.

Both Kemp and Kershaw are looking forward to starting the second half of the season with most of the Dodgers' injuries a thing of the past.

"The second half is going to be tough, but I feel like we have a chance to do some great things if we stay healthy," Kemp said.

Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.