Kershaw dominates Padres in return
SAN DIEGO — Bad news for the rest of the National League and maybe the junior circuit as well: Clayton Kershaw is back.
Kershaw threw six scoreless innings in his return from the disabled list and Chase Utley contributed an RBI single as Los Angeles edged the San Diego Padres 1-0 on Friday night.
“Any time you haven’t done something in a long time there is a doubt in the back of your mind that you can do it,” Kershaw said. “So it was good to be able to get back out there and do it.”
Kershaw (16-2), pitching for the first time since July 23 because of a lower back strain, snapped the Dodgers’ season-long, five-game losing streak. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was charged with two hits as he struck out seven in his stellar 70-pitch effort.
For Kershaw, it was his career-high 12th straight winning decision, the first Dodger to accomplish that feat since Burt Hooton in 1975.
Dinelson Lamet (7-6) nearly equaled Kershaw in a tight pitching duel to open this four-game series. Lamet also went six innings, giving up a run on six hits. He struck out 10, with three walks.
“You lose a game short term, but to see somebody square off against Clayton Kershaw, and for the most part match him, you can’t ask anything more from him,” Padres manager Andy Green said.
But the veteran Utley got to a tiring Lamet in the sixth. After Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger opened with singles, Utley smoked a two-out single up the middle that nearly struck second base umpire Rob Drake.
Drake ducked, and the ball nestled in center field, Turner reached home and Kershaw ran his career mark to 17-6 against the Padres, including 3-0 this year.
Three pitchers threw three clean innings to finish off the Padres as they managed but two hits. Kenley Jansen worked a pristine ninth in notching his 36th save as San Diego fell to Los Angeles for the 10th time in 14 games this season. The Padres were blanked for the second time in four games.
Turner had three hits for the Dodgers.
The Padres got their second infield hit off Kershaw when Yangervis Solarte opened the fifth inning with a single. Kershaw then struck out two of the next three batters to strand Solarte at first.
The Dodgers’ outfielders basically had the night off by not recording one putout or fielding a ball.
Alex Verdugo reached base for the first time in his career with his one-out walk in the fifth inning. Kershaw followed with a sharp single. Lamet, however, sat down Chris Taylor and Curtis Granderson on strikes.
Kershaw allowed an infield single to his first batter, Manuel Margot, and then retired 12 straight Padres.
“I didn’t expect him to be that sharp,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “But with him, you can never underestimate him.”
Kershaw’s fastball had life, his curveball showed bite and his slider was too good for San Diego to ignore.
“Efficiency-wise, I think it was as good as I could have expected,” Kershaw said. “I really didn’t pitch any differently. I was throwing early strikes where they had to swing the bat.”
Lamet walked two but didn’t allow a hit until Turner opened the fourth with a single to right. But Lamet erased Cody Bellinger, Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig.
“It was a pleasure to face (Kershaw),” Lamet said through a translator. “It definitely motivated me. I knew I was going to have to give my best effort.”
NOTES: Dodgers OF Alex Verdugo, one of the team’s top prospects, was called up and made his debut. He went hitless in three at-bats, with a walk. Others summoned from Triple-A were INF Rob Segedin and INF O’Koyea Dickson and RHP Fabio Castillo. ... LHP Clayton Kershaw and OF Andre Ethier were activated from the DL. ...Padres hitting coach Alan Zinter was dismissed. .. INF Erick Aybar came off the DL, LHP Kyle McGrath and RHP Jose Valdez were recalled from Triple-A and RHP Jordan Lyles had his contract purchased.