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Clayton Kershaw rounding into peak form, again

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw was dominant again on Thursday against the Mets, pitching his second shutout in three starts. The Dodgers ace didn't allow a runner to reach base until the seventh inning on Thursday, flirting with his second career no-hitter.

"I thought for a second he was going to throw a no-hitter, potentially a perfect game. He made a good pitch on [Curtis] Granderson. He was great tonight," catcher Yasmani Grandal told Alanna Rizzo after the game on the SportsNet LA broadcast. "The last couple nights he's been lights out. That's the one thing you want to see from your horse."

Kershaw has allowed 11 earned runs and 11 walks in his last 11 starts, and lowered his ERA on the season to 2.51.

"I guess he's answering all those questions that people were asking," Grandal said. "He's been here all along, and just getting stronger as he goes."

Kershaw has a scoreless streak of 29 consecutive innings, which happens to be the second-longest streak on his own staff, with Zack Greinke at 43⅔ innings.

"Watching him and watching Greinke out there just being so dominant, it kind of lets me play with the batters, and start experimenting, knowing they're not really going to hit them," Grandal told Rizzo while smiling. "One of the things I wanted to see was Bartolo Colon caught swinging, and hopefully his helmet would come off."

Colon grounded out in the third and was called out on strikes in the sixth. He kept his helmet on.

"The way Bartolo was working, he was working so fast, it felt like as soon as I sat down I was back out there again," Kershaw said, again per SportsNet LA. "I got to get into a pretty good rhythm."

The game lasted only two hours, 27 minutes.

Kershaw on the night struck out 11, the ninth time in 20 starts this season he has reached double digits in strikeouts. His most in any season. It was the 38th double-digit strikeout game of his career.

"I saw the most dominant pitcher on the planet," Orel Hershiser said on the postgame show. "He's on a roll right now, Cy Young, MVP form."

"It's like, if he's like this all night, those guys have no chance," said Jimmy Rollins. "And he was like that all night."

Kershaw leads the majors with 185 strikeouts in his 140 innings.

"I just feel like he's been throwing good for so long, it was just a matter of time," said manager Don Mattingly after the game. "He's going to get stronger as the year goes."

Up next

The Dodgers have Ian Thomas starting Friday, which probably means some combination of Juan Nicasio and a relief pitcher called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City will be ready as backup, at least for a day or so with Zack Greinke potentially on paternity leave. Jonathon Niese starts for the Mets.