Adrian Gonzalez continued his scorching weekend in Milwaukee, and Clayton Kershaw continued his scorching season, leading the Dodgers over the mistake-prone Brewers 5-1 to salvage one game in Milwaukee.
The win allows the Dodgers to leave town with the best record in the National League (67-52) and, coupled with San Francisco getting swept in Kansas City, a season-high 4½-game lead in the NL West.
Gonzalez drove in the Dodgers' first run with a sacrifice fly in the third inning, then doubled and scored the go-ahead run on an RBI single by Matt Kemp in the fifth. Kemp had two hits on the day, extending his hitting streak to six games.
In the seventh inning, Carl Crawford singled then advanced to third base on an errant pick off throw and a throwing error trying to get him advancing to second. Then Gonzalez followed with a drive to the center field wall, just off the glove of Carlos Gomez, for his second double of the game and a 3-1 lead.
Gonzalez has 31 doubles on the season, tying Yasiel Puig for the team lead. It is the fifth straight season and eighth time in the last nine years Gonzalez has hit 30 doubles. He averaged 38 doubles for the last eight years, and is on pace for 42 doubles this year.
On the day Gonzalez was 2-for-3 with a double and in the three-game series was 7-for-10 with three doubles, two home runs and drove in five of the Dodgers' nine runs. Gonzalez in his career at Miller Park has hit .406/.473/.792 with nine home runs, 10 doubles and 25 RBI in 24 games.
He also has four straight multi-hit games and since the All-Star break is hitting .354/.418/.595 with 19 RBI in 22 games.
Gonzalez is tied with Giancarlo Stanton for the NL lead with 79 RBI.
That offense backed Kershaw, who wasn't at his sharpest but still managed to last eight innings and allow one run.
Things are all relative of course, and Kershaw not at his sharpest would still hold his own against most samurai swords.
Kershaw walked two batters, which is perfectly fine, but he walked two in back-to-back starts for the first time since May 17-23.
The Brewers had a runner in scoring position with nobody out in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, but none of them scored. In the third inning, Brewers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson was erased after his leadoff double when he tried to advance to third base on a ground ball to shortstop.
In the fourth inning Ryan Braun singled then advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Kershaw threw another pitch in the dirt and Braun tried to go to third, but was thrown out by A.J. Ellis. Braun was initially called safe but upon instant replay review Juan Uribe applied a lightning-quick tag before Braun reached the bag, thwarting that rally.
In the fifth, Rickie Weeks doubled and advanced to third base on a ground ball. Then, on a second squeeze attempt by Jean Segura, Kershaw made a ridiculous catch of a popped-up bunt then threw to third to double up Weeks and end the inning.
The Brewers on the bases were enough to drive America's house guest batty.
I have NEVER seen worse base running and bunt technique in my life @Brewers. They r EMBARRASSINGLY BAD. I'm done watching. I'd rather puke.— Kato Kaelin (@Kato_Kaelin) August 10, 2014
To make matters worse for Milwaukee, Kershaw also picked off Gomez in the third inning. It was the third pickoff of the season for Kershaw, tied for sixth in the majors and three off Drew Smyly's lead. Kershaw has finished in the top three in the majors in pickoffs for five straight years and his 45 pickoffs since the beginning of 2009 are the most in baseball.
The only pitcher even close to Kershaw during that span is Mark Buehrle, with 38. Bruce Chen is next with 26.
Kershaw ended with six strikeouts in eight innings, tying for the NL lead with his 14th win of the year. In his last 13 starts Kershaw is 11-0 with a 1.15 ERA, with 117 strikeouts and 12 walks in 101 innings.
He is the first Dodgers pitcher to win 11 straight decisions since Orel Hershiser in 1985. Hershiser, on Sunday's SportsNet LA television broadcast had high praise for Kershaw.
"If he wins the ERA title & the Cy Young Award this season, he can pretty much punch his ticket to the Hall of Fame," Hershiser said.
The Dodgers added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning, the first of which was Ellis' first home run of the season, in his 57th game and 215th plate appearance of the season. It was hit off Marco Estrada, banished to the bullpen after ineffective work as a starter. Estrada has allowed 28 home runs this season, five more than anyone else in baseball.
But Ellis tried to prove it was fluke, nearly hitting another home run in the ninth, only to be robbed by a great leaping catch in left center field by Khris Davis.
The other insurance run in the eighth came when Miguel Rojas followed the Ellis home run with a double, one of three hits on the day for the shortstop. Kershaw followed with an RBI single to end the scoring.
Kenley Jansen, who hadn't pitched since Wednesday, pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to close out the win.
The Dodgers take the next step on their Hank Aaron road trip, moving on to Atlanta for a four-game series staring Monday night against the Braves. Newly-acquired pitcher Kevin Correia is expected to make a spot start in the opener, facing Julio Teheran for Atlanta.
Home run: A.J. Ellis (1)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (14-2): 8 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP - Jimmy Nelson (2-3): 6 IP, 8 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts