The Dodgers not only hadn't won a game for a week, but they didn't even have a lead since last Sunday, a span that reached 66 innings during Sunday night's game against the Mets. Getting shutout in five of their last six contests will do that to a team.
Enter Clayton Kershaw, who helped snap the Dodgers' losing streak at seven games with his strong performance. Kershaw pitched seven innings and struck out nine to earn his sixth win of the year.
"You always want to be the stopper, no matter where you're pitching," Kershaw said.
Kershaw allowed three runs, including just one earned run. The Mets, not to be outdone in the error department, committed three errors of their own and allowed six unearned runs to the Dodgers.
But even in the battle of earned runs, the Dodgers were ahead 2-1. Not that it mattered to manager Don Mattingly, whose team was starved for a win.
"It was just one of those games today, and it feels good to get a win no matter how we got it," Mattingly said.
Kershaw retired the final nine batters he faced and threw 116 pitches, one shy of his season high. "He got better as the game went on," Mattingly said.
One year ago, on All-Star selection Sunday, Kershaw was 8-4 with 138 strikeouts in 122 2/3 innings. Now he is 6-4 with 112 strikeouts in 115 1/3 innings in one fewer start, though with a lower ERA (2.65, compared to 3.23 last year).
"I don't care what Clayton's record is. I'll take him any day of the week against anybody. If this guy isn't the best pitcher in baseball, he's right there," Mattingly said. "If Clayton Kershaw is healthy he's going to be a stallion for a long time."
Kershaw was named an All-Star on Sunday for the second straight year, an honor he also wished for his teammate Chris Capuano, who has won nine games for the Dodgers with a 2.69 ERA.
"It's a huge honor, and I'm incredibly excited to get to go again," Kershaw said. "I'm pumped up that I got my name called, but at the same time it's kind of a tough feeling to have a guy on our staff who is very deserving and should be there."
The Dodgers welcome the Cincinnati Reds to town for a three-game series beginning Monday night. Chad Billingsley starts the series opener, facing Homer Bailey for the Reds.