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Clayton Kershaw day by day: A trio of gems

3 starts, 1 run allowed, 3 wins for Kershaw on July 7

New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers

One of Clayton Kershaw’s best days of the baseball calendar has been July 7, with only one total run allowed in three starts.

Up first was July 7, 2009, for the Dodgers’ first game at Citi Field against the Mets.

Kershaw, making his 38th career start, struck out two in each of the first two frames, and the Dodgers gave him all the support he’d need in the second inning, the key blow a two-run single by Manny Ramirez.

Kershaw retired nine of his final 10 batters faced, and erased the one he didn’t on a double play. That got Kershaw through six scoreless innings, as the Dodgers cruised to an 8-0 road win.

It continued a hot streak for Kershaw. From my game recap:

Kershaw has allowed no runs in four of his last five starts. During that time span, the Dodgers are 5-0 and Kershaw’s ERA is 0.61

Since May 1, Kershaw has allowed 17 runs in 13 starts. He is 6-3 with a 2.11 ERA during that span, averaging 5.59 innings per start.

The Mets and Kershaw came together again on July 7, 2011, this time on a Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. Justin Turner started at second base for New York.

This was a close game until the sixth inning, when doubles by Matt Kemp and Aaron Miles, and a triple by Dioner Navarro fueled a five-run rally and a 6-0 Dodgers lead.

Kershaw was cruising, and it looked like the Dodgers were locks to snap their five-game losing streak. But then things got dicey in the eighth inning. From Phil Gurnee’s game recap:

The defining moment in the game came in the top of the eighth with the Dodgers leading 6-0. Kershaw had been masterful up until that inning, giving up only three hits along with eight strikeouts. By the time Don Mattingly came to the mound the five game losing streak was back on the line, the bases were loaded and the Mets clean up hitter was up. Surprisingly Don Mattingly let Clayton Kershaw stay in, and Clayton rewarded his faith by striking out Paulino for his 9th strikeout.

The Dodgers held on to shut out New York, and started a five-game winning streak, bookended by Kershaw wins.

Kershaw’s third career July 7 start came in 2013, this time in San Francisco against the Giants. As with most Dodgers-Giants games in San Francisco, especially ones started by Kershaw, this was a low-scoring affair.

A double by catcher Guillermo Quiroz, a wild pitch, and a fly ball got San Francisco a run against Kershaw in the third inning, snapping Kershaw’s July 7 scoreless streak at 16 frames.

Kershaw only struck out three, but also allowed only four to reach base, completing his eight innings in an efficient 100 pitches. But the game was still tied until two outs in the ninth inning, when A.J. Ellis hit a three-run double that gave the Dodgers the win.

From my game recap:

At AT&T Park Kershaw has been even better. Sunday’s run was his seventh allowed in San Francisco in nine career starts. He is 6-2 with a 0.78 ERA on the road against the Giants.

Against everyone in 2013, Kershaw is now 8-5 and lowered his major league leading ERA to 1.89.

That’s one run allowed in 22 innings for Kershaw on July 7, with 19 strikeouts and five walks.

The outings

2009 (W, 6-5): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

2011 (W, 9-4): 8 IP, 5 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts

2013 (W, 8-5): 8 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Up next: Two starts, two wins