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Clayton Kershaw flirts with no-hitter in win over D-backs

Dodgers survive Arizona comeback effort in 9th

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

Clayton Kershaw took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, helping the Dodgers draw first blood with a 4-3 win over the Diamondbacks in the opener of their three-game showdown series on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw was on top of his game on Tuesday, striking out 11, including six straight outs by strikeout at one point. The only one who gave Kershaw trouble was catcher Chris Iannetta, who walked in his first two at-bats.

There was an interesting battle in the middle innings because even though Kershaw was racking up the outs he was also running his pitch count up, and threw 92 pitches through six frames.

But before we even had a chance to visualize how Kershaw might grind Dave Roberts to dust in an attempt to pull him from the game, Chris Owings grounded a ball in between first and second base. Cody Bellinger ranged far to his right trying to field the ball, leaving Kershaw to race Owings to the bag. Once second baseman Logan Forsythe fielded the ball and threw to first, Owings won the race, just barely.

The no-hitter over, Iannetta delivered a more traditional single to the outfield, his third time reaching base, and getting the tying run to the plate in a 3-0 game.

But Kershaw got a ground ball out to end the threat, and his night. He didn’t get the no-hitter, but settled for another brilliant start, his third consecutive game allowing zero earned runs, the first time he’s done that since Sept. 14-24, 2016.

By allowing just four runners to reach base in his start, Kershaw once again lowered his career WHIP below one. He’s at 0.99929 in 1,883⅓ innings, good for second place all-time among pitchers with 1,000 innings, behind only Hall of Fame Ed Walsh.

Kershaw is the first pitcher in baseball to 13 wins this season, and he lowered his ERA to 2.19. At the moment, he leads MLB with 123⅓ innings pitched.

Election season

With the Dodgers in full campaign mode for the Final Vote, including carving out a special section of Dodger Stadium where Pantone 294 folks were constantly voting, Justin Turner made his subjects proud immediately on Tuesday.

In the first inning against Patrick Corbin, Turner drove a ball on a line toward left field, where it hit the top of the wall and stayed in the park. Turner settled for a 395-foot single, but one that brought Logan Forsythe home for the game’s first run.

In the third inning, Turner one-upped himself, this time driving a ball to center field, and over the wall for the second run of the game.

Turner, who through the first voting update revealed by MLB earlier on Tuesday was leading Kris Bryant and others in the Final Vote, is now hitting .384/.472/.569.

Voting runs through Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. PT.

Heating up

Yasmani Grandal doubled in the second inning, then delivered RBI singles in the third and eighth, for his eighth three-hit game of the season.

Grandal has seven extra-base hits — two doubles and five home runs -- in his last nine games, hitting .361 (13-for-36) during that span.

That last run was very much needed, because the D-backs put two runners on base against Brandon Morrow in the ninth in a 4-0 game, prompting Roberts to bring in Kenley Jansen with one out. Jansen got the second out of the inning with a pop up, but then Daniel Descalso stunned him with a three-run home run to right field.

It was the second home run of the season allowed by Jansen, and just the second and third inherited runs — out of 17 — that he allowed to score this season.

Then Jansen walked Jake Lamb, just the second walk of the season for Jansen. But he was able to recover, striking out Chris Herrmann to end the game.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: Justin Turner (8); Daniel Descalso (6)

WP - Clayton Kershaw (13-2): 7 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts

LP - Patrick Corbin (6-8): 4⅔ IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts

Sv - Kenley Jansen (19): ⅔ IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout