Clayton Kershaw threw seven scoreless innings, leading the Dodgers to a 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night in the first of two games in the series at Dodger Stadium. The win was the fifth straight for the Dodgers, owners of the best record in baseball.
The win was also watched from the dugout by Matt Kemp, who saw his streak of 399 consecutive games played come to a restful end. It was the longest active streak in baseball coming into tonight.
Kershaw struck out six and allowed seven baserunners Monday night for his third win of the season. It was the 18th start of Kershaw's career with at least seven innings pitched and no runs allowed, and the ninth such game since the beginning of last year.
Dee Gordon led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, snapping his 0-for-14 slump, then advanced to third base on an errant pickoff attempt by Ian Kennedy. One Mark Ellis grounder to the right side later, the Dodgers had a 1-0 advantage.
The Diamondbacks nearly evened the score in the top of the third inning, but Tony Gwynn Jr., in center field in place of the injured Matt Kemp, made his second standout defensive play in as many days. Willie Bloomquist singled to right center field with two outs, and Gwynn threw a one-hop strike to the plate to erase A.J. Pollock, who was trying to score from second base, to preserve the Dodgers' lead.
Through five innings, Kennedy nearly matched Kershaw on the mound, and both had similar experiences at the plate against the other.
In the bottom of the third inning, Kennedy threw up and in on Kershaw then threw behind him, as an apparent retaliation for Kershaw plunking Gerardo Parra last August, which was in itself a retaliation for Parra posing and taking his time after hitting a home run off Hong-Chih Kuo. But that was in retaliation for a wild Kuo throwing up and in on Parra.
Keeping an account of the ledger of baseball grudges can be quite tedious, but the players never forget. Nor did Kershaw, who returned the favor by throwing up and in to Kennedy in the top of the fifth inning. Both benches were warned after that, and Kennedy ended up walking, as Kershaw did two innings earlier.
The Dodgers got to Kennedy in the sixth inning for a pair of insurance runs, the first one coming off the bat of Andre Ethier, who used what Vin Scully described on the broadcast as a "picture pefect" swing to hit a ball halfway up the right field pavilion for his eighth home run of the season.
Ethier hit his eighth home run on July 10 last season, in his 90th game (Ethier also hit his ninth home run of the season in that game as well). Tonight was game number 35 for the Dodgers this season.
- The Dodgers ended last season with a 25-10 record over their last 35 games. They are now 24-11 this season.
- James Loney went 2-for-3 with a walk to extend his hitting streak to six games. During that span Loney is 9-for-20, hitting .450/.542/.550.
- A.J. Ellis, batting fifth for the first time in his career, singled and scored the Dodgers' third run of the night. Ellis has reached base via hit or walk in a career-high 24 straight games.
- The Dodgers are 13-4 against the National League West this season.
Home Runs: Andre Ethier (8)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (3-1): 7 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP - Ian Kennedy (3-3): 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned runs), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (4): 3 up, 3 down