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Clayton Kershaw dominates Angels to earn Freeway Series split

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Kershaw’s 5th double-digit-strikeout game of the season

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw delivered an efficient evisceration of the Angels on Thursday night in Anaheim, striking out 12 in a 6-2 win that earned the Dodgers a split of the Freeway Series.

Kershaw threw 67 of his 93 pitches for strikes, and had 10 different 0-2 counts on the night. He allowed just one unearned run on three hits, though he did walk two. Kershaw struck out five in a row at one point.

The Dodgers have won Kershaw’s last 11 starts, dating back to May 6. He is 8-0 with a 2.16 ERA during that span, and at 12-2 on the season has won 12 games before the All-Star break for the first time in his career.

Kershaw ended his June 5-0 in six starts with a 2.23 ERA, with 57 strikeouts and 10 walks in 40⅓ innings. The 57 strikeouts are tied for Kershaw’s fourth-most in any month.

Highest Clayton Kershaw strikeout months

Month/Year Strikeouts Innings
Month/Year Strikeouts Innings
Sep/Oct 2015 65 47.7
May 2016 65 49.7
June 2014 61 44.0
June 2015 57 41.7
June 2017 57 40.3
August 2015 51 45.0

Going back to that pet stat from the game preview, we can now go back those four more starts, plus Thursday night. So Kershaw in his last 183 regular season starts has a 1.99 ERA, over 1,301⅔ innings.

Angels starter JC Ramirez was able to match near zeroes with Kershaw, allowing just an unearned run through four innings. But then, in the middle innings, the Dodgers power kicked in.

Yasiel Puig and Chase Utley hit solo shots off Ramirez in the fifth inning, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. Joc Pederson followed with a three-run shot in the sixth, blowing the game open while also setting a Dodgers team record for home runs in a month, with 50.

It was the second three-run home run in the Freeway Series for Pederson, who also did the deed on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. Since his return from the disabled list on June 13, Pederson is hitting .291/.426/.709 with six home runs, five doubles and 13 RBI in 17 games.

Down five runs in the eighth, the Angels threatened against Luis Avilan and Brandon Morrow, scoring a run then loading the bases. Kenley Jansen was asked to restore order and did, escaping the bases loaded with no further damage, then pitching a scoreless ninth for his 18th save.

Jansen has stranded 14 of 15 inherited runners this season.

Eight of Jansen’s saves this season have lasted four outs or more.

Fittingly, this game ended on a strikeout pitch that got away, and this time a successful throw to first base.

Up next

The Dodgers move their bus road trip down Interstate 5 to San Diego for a weekend series against the Padres. Alex Wood starts the opener on Friday night, a 7:10 p.m. PT game, facing lefty Clayton Richard for San Diego.

Thursday particulars

Home runs: Yasiel Puig (15), Chase Utley (5), Joc Pederson (8)

WP - Clayton Kershaw (12-2): 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 unearned run, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts

LP - JC Ramirez (7-6): 5⅔ IP, 7 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Sv - Kenley Jansen (18): 1⅓ IP, 1 strikeout