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Clayton Kershaw takes perfect game into 8th in commanding win over Angels

Justin Turner drove in four with three hits

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There was no need for another comeback. The Dodgers opened their final series of the first half of the season with a 9-1 win over the Angels Friday. Clayton Kershaw put on a show in his final start before he takes the mound at Dodger Stadium Tuesday for the All-Star Game. The ace left-hander needed just 71 pitches to retire 21 consecutive batters in front of a crowd filled with Dodger fans at Angel Stadium.

Hometown hero

The two guys who didn’t get selected for the All-Star team, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith continued to show they deserve to be on the NL team. Freeman drove in another run with a single against left-hander Patrick Sandoval. Freeman, Orange County native, has now reached base 18 times in his last 21 plate appearances.

Smith, another snub from the All-Star team, singled thereafter. Justin Turner’s groundout scored the second run of the inning for the Boys in Blue.

Kershaw really wants to start the All-Star Game

Kershaw’s masterful work to strike out Shohei Ohtani looking in the first scoreless inning of work reflected Clayton’s eagerness to prove he is the rightful starting pitcher for the NL in the All-Star Game Tuesday.

Kersaw’s fastball command was on point, and he was perfect through four innings. He had some help behind him in the field as well. Justin Turner showed off his glove at the hot corner to get Michael Stefanic for the first out of the bottom of the fourth.

Kershaw’s reaction to his long-time teammate’s play was great as well. Kershaw only needed to make five pitches in the frame.

Alberto does it all

Hanser Alberto doubled the score for the Dodgers in the top of the fifth with a two-RBI triple. Patrick Sandoval was tired after he reached 102 pitches. His defense failed behind him with two outs as well. Jo Adell misplayed the catchable fly ball in right field, and the Dodgers took a 4-0 lead.

Alberto snagged a 103.2-mph Jared Walsh rocket into shallow right field to preserve the perfect game intact through five.

The Dodgers opened the game wide open with four runs in the sixth. They scored two runs on a Freeman sac fly and a Will Smith RBI double off Angel reliever Austin Warren. Justin Turner drove in another two runs with a line drive single to left to make it a commanding 8-0.

There was no Hanley Ramirez to mess up this one. Trea Turner also contributed with the glove with a stellar play at short in the seventh. Kershaw was on fire and struck out Ohtani with Public Enemy Number One and struck out Ward. Seven perfect innings.

Smith drove a ball deep off the right center field wall for a triple with two outs in the eighth for his fourth hit of the night. JT’s fourth hit of the night extended the Dodgers’ lead to 9-0.

Kershaw’s perfect game attempt was broken up by a leadoff Luis Rengifo double in the eighth. Reyes Moronta gave up a solo home run to Brandon Marsh in the bottom of the ninth to ruin the shutout, but the Dodgers still prevailed over the Halos.

Friday particulars

WP — Clayton Kershaw (7-2): 8 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K on 89 pitches (63 strikes)

LP — Patrick Sandoval (3-5): 4.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K on 102 pitches (63)

HR — Brandon Marsh (7)

Stolen Base Count: 58

Up next

It’s another southpaw showdown on Saturday when the Dodgers go for their 60th win on the season. Julio Urías (7-6, 3.01 ERA, 1.4 HR/9) looks to bounce back after a rough two-inning start last time out against the Cubs. Jose Suárez (1-3, 4.79 ERA, 1.542 WHIP) faces the Dodgers for the first time in his career.

First pitch from Angel Stadium is at 7:07 p.m. PT on SportsNet LA and Bally Sports West.