The scenario was perfect, really, with so many hung up on the Dodgers' 0-46 record when trailing after seven innings. The Dodgers trailed 1-0 entering the eighth inning, providing Turner an opportunity to make good on this tweet from one night earlier.
From what I have gathered from fans' responses tonight, not only do the Dodgers need to win, but have to do so in comeback fashion— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) August 21, 2014
Make that 1-46.
"Maybe you guys will stop talking about that," Turner joked. "We're all aware of that. We just try to pull together. Carl takes a good at-bat, and we get a break, bouncing off his glove. Then I caught a mistake off Ross. It's a pretty good feeling."
Tyson Ross proved every bit the worthy rival to Kershaw on Thursday, matching him on the mound and even causing problems at the plate.
Kershaw took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, facing the minimum number of batters until Ross singled over the head of shortstop Miguel Rojas with two outs. Kershaw got out of the sixth inning with a strikeout of Yangervis Solarte, but the seventh inning was not so kind.
Abraham Almonte opened the seventh with a single, then Kershaw walked Jedd Gyorko. A fly ball to center field advanced Almonte to third, then a hard single to left field by Rene Rivera brought home the game's only run.
Manager Don Mattingly said he thought Kershaw had no-hit stuff on Thursday, but the pitcher disagreed.
"Apparently not, I gave up three, so no," Kershaw quipped. "I gave up a hit to the pitcher, so I guess it wasn't my night."
Before Ross broke up the no-hitter in the sixth inning, opposing pitchers were 0-for-20 with 11 strikeouts at home against Kershaw this season.
Ross allowed two hits and a walk with six strikeouts in the first seven innings, including 12 straight batters retired until Carl Crawford led off with an infield single, setting up Turner's heroics.
The Padres have only scored two runs with Ross in the game in his four starts against the Dodgers. Ross has a 2.67 ERA in those four starts against Los Angeles, with 29 strikeouts and eight walks in 27 innings. But he is 0-4.
"Tyson is really, really good. I knew I was in for a battle tonight," Kershaw said.
The Dodgers put three runners on base in the first three innings against Ross, but never more than one at a time. The team's two best base stealers - Carl Crawford in the second inning and Dee Gordon in the third - were each thrown out trying to steal second base by Rivera, which was news in itself.
Entering Thursday opposing runners stole 27 bases against Ross, one shy of the major league lead, with only six caught in the act. Rivera had a solid 34-percent caught stealing rate, nabbing 23-of-67 would-be stealers, but with Ross on the mound Rivera threw out only six of 25 runners trying to steal (24 percent).
Kershaw struck out 10 in his eight innings, picking up his 15th win of the season to tie for the National League lead. All five of Kershaw's double-digit strikeout games this season have come at home.
Kershaw lowered his ERA on the season to 1.82, and since the beginning of June has been sublime. In his last 15 starts Kershaw is 12-1 with a 1.30 ERA, with 138 strikeouts and only 14 walks.
For Turner, his magical season continues. After his 2-for-3 night, he is hitting .344/.479/.459 in 26 games since the All-Star break. On the season, Turner is hitting .314/.386/.441 and has started all four infield positions.
"He's played a number of roles for us, from playing anywhere in the infield to pinch hitting to playing regularly," Mattingly said. "People are starting to get a good picture of him. He's a guy who swings the bat well, and he's been really good for us."
It was the fourth home run of the year for Turner, matching a career high set in 2011, and the 12th home run in his career.
"I knew I hit it good, but you never know here at night time. I don't hit a lot of homers so no i don't know when they go out, but I definitely saw it go over the fence," Turner said. "Davey [Lopes, first base coach] was waiting to give me a high-five, so that was cool. I've never really got to high-five a first base coach on a home run."
The Dodgers finish up a nine-game homestand with a weekend series against the Mets, with Dan Haren taking the mound in Friday night's opener. Jon Niese starts for New York.
Home runs: Justin Turner (4)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (15-3): 8 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
LP - Tyson Ross (11-12): 8 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (36): 1 IP, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts