KANSAS CITY -- Clayton Kershaw continued his outstanding June to lead the Dodgers to a 2-0 win over the Royals on Tuesday night. Kershaw pitched eight scoreless innings, giving up six hits, walking one and striking out eight. Kenley Jansen recorded the save with a spotless ninth inning which included striking out the last two batters.
Justin Turner, batting leadoff for the first time this season, tripled after a lengthy at-bat. With one out and runners on first and third, Adrian Gonzalez' hit a ground ball that was deflected by pitcher Danny Duffy and the Royals could only record one out. Turner scored on that play to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
"The first at bat of the game was huge, the number of pitches he sees and then ends up with a triple there," manager Don Mattingly said.
The Dodgers would score their second run in the top of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier grounded a single up the middle and Gonzalez scored from second without a throw.
Kershaw struck out Lorenzo Cain to begin his start but then Eric Hosmer singled to end any thought of another no-hitter. Billy Butler immediately grounded into an inning ending double play to end the inning.
A.J. Ellis said that he talked to Hosmer when Ellis was on first and Hosmer said "I'm up there swinging because I saw [Kershaw] on tape and I don't want to get to the two strike stuff."
"Clayton went back to work" was how Mattingly described Kershaw's demeanor once Hosmer singled in the first.
Despite Kershaw's low pitch count in the early part of the game, Mattingly said it looked to him that Kershaw "was fighting it."
"It was a good win for us," Kershaw added. "It definitely wasn't easy tonight. My fastball command was all over the place."
"More stressful pitches" was how Kershaw described the different between Tuesday night's game and his June 18th no-hitter.
"That was stressful for other reasons," Kershaw said of his no-hitter. "The game was in-hand so it was more personal."
It was the first time Kershaw had seen many of the Royals.
"It's good and bad," he explained. "You don't have a great feel for the guys but then they don't have a feel for you either."
Kershaw and Duffy settled into a pitching duel. Duffy gave up only one hit after the second inning. Duffy would pitch six innings and leave the game trailing 1-0.
Kershaw would retire eight batters in a row before Hosmer would get his second single in the fourth inning. With two outs, Kershaw walked Alex Gordon putting runners on first and second. Salvador Perez would then ground out to end the threat.
The defensive play of the game came in the bottom of the seventh. With runners on first and third and two out, Alcides Escobar hit a grounder up the middle. Dodger second baseman Miguel Rojas was positioned in the right spot and Rojas threw out Escobar to keep the 1-0 lead.
Kershaw said Rojas has 'been great" defensively and Turner is "playing great defense" at third base.
Mattingly said that Kershaw was coming out of the game after he pitched the eighth no matter what. Mattingly thought about taking him out after the seventh inning but he decided to let him go one more inning.
Kershaw is now 5-0 with 0.97 ERA in 37 innings in June, with 21 hits allowed, two walks and struck out 48 this month.
Gonzalez has driven in a run in six straight games.
Kershaw has struck out seven or more batters in seven straight games tying Max Scherzer for the longest such streak this season.
Kershaw struck out 8 Royals which ties the third highest amount by a starting pitcher against Kansas City this season.
Gordon received Kershaw's second walk in June.
The series finale features two veteran right-handers facing off, James Shields, who like Jeremy Guthrie, has never faced the Dodgers before and Dan Haren who has some history with the Royals.
Home runs: none
WP - Clayton Kershaw (8-2): 8 innings, no runs, 6 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
LP - Danny Duffy (4-7): 6 innings, 1 run, 4 hits, 4 walks and 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (23): 3 batters faced, 2 strikeouts