SAN DIEGO (AP) — Clayton Kershaw is feeling fit again and that’s a bad sign for the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ rivals heading into the season’s second half.
The left-hander pitched six scoreless innings, and Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner each had three hits as the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 8-2 Monday night.
“I think we are getting pretty close,” Kershaw said. “It was a good day and it was definitely a step in the right direction. My pitch count got up early, but for the most part I made some good pitches when I needed to.”
Kershaw (3-4) improved his career mark to 18-6 against San Diego as the Dodgers moved a half-game behind the idle Arizona Diamondbacks for the National League West lead. Los Angeles won for the 33rd time in 48 contests.
.@Hunter_Renfroe with his CANNON arm 💪 @redturn2, out. @Padres #LetsGoPadres pic.twitter.com/qzFiFHwhcI
— FOX Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) July 10, 2018
The Padres were handcuffed by Kershaw as they managed but a pair of singles and a walk against the Dodgers’ ace as they lost a game he started for the 13th consecutive time. Kershaw was sharp from the onset, recording his five strikeouts in the first four innings. San Diego never had two baserunners aboard in the same inning and had just one in scoring position during his outing.
“I thought compared to how we’ve seen him on video the last couple of times out, I thought he was shaper,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He’s been one of the best for a long time…we are still struggling to solve him.”
Luis Perdomo (1-3) gave up six runs, 10 hits and three walks — one intentional — over seven innings in his second start since being recalled from Triple-A El Paso.
The Padres, who got a home run from Wil Myers in the ninth, lost for the sixth time in eight games. It was Myers’ fifth homer in three games.
Kershaw, who has had two stints on the disabled list this year, won his second straight start in throwing 89 pitches, his most since May 1. Monday’s impressive outing gave Kershaw his first road win of the season and came on the heels of him tossing six innings in a win over the Pirates.
“It was really good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Kershaw’s performance. “He was in rhythm and sync in his delivery and I think that’s the best I’ve seen his slider, and his fastball command was great.”
The Dodgers broke the game open in the fourth inning, scoring five runs after sending eight batters to the plate.
Bellinger opened with an opposite-field double, Matt Kemp walked and Yasmani Grandal hit a double to drive in Bellinger. Chris Taylor‘s RBI single made it 2-0 and Andrew Toles stroked a two-run double off the base of the left-field fence.
Toles, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game with Yasiel Puig (oblique) going on the disabled list, scored from third on Joc Pederson‘s grounder to stalk Kershaw to a 5-0 lead.
Perdomo wiggled from a jam in the second as the Dodgers had two singles, a double and a walk. But Kemp hit into a double play and Kershaw grounded out to end the threat.
Kershaw eclipsed the 2,000-inning mark in his career in the third inning of Monday’s game. Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, is the 13th Dodger in franchise history and 11th active pitcher to reach that milestone.
“I should have done it a lot sooner but I kept getting hurt,” Kershaw said. “It sounds like a lot of innings. Hopefully I got a few more left.”
Dodgers: RF Puig (right oblique) was placed on the 10-day disabled list. Manager Dave Roberts said Puig will be out for an extended period of time.
Padres: RHP Jordan Lyles (right elbow) threw a bullpen session on Sunday and is slated for another one on Wednesday.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (2-3), who is coming off a win over the Pirates, starts the middle game of the four-game series. Hill has a career mark of 4-3 with a 3.18 ERA in eight starts against the Padres.
Padres: LHP Eric Lauer (4-5) has settled down after a rocking April-May in which he posted a 7.67 ERA in seven starts. Over six outings in June, Lauer had a 2.76 ERA. Lauer threw six scoreless innings and earned his first career win when beating the Dodgers on May 6.
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