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Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts reach milestones in Dodgers blowout win

Kershaw ties Don Drysdale for 2nd-most wins (209) in Dodgers history

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw battled early command woes and walked back-to-back hitters in the first inning, but recovered. He was backed by a busy Dodgers offense, including a milestone home run by Mookie Betts in a 9-1 blowout of the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Seven of the Dodgers' nine hitters reached base multiple times. One of the exceptions was Freddie Freeman, who left two-thirds of the way through, getting a breather as the team led by eight runs.

Betts homered tonight for his 36th of the season, setting a new career high, and by every measure, his campaign transcends that of your run-of-the-mill MVP winner.

Maybe Betts will win it, or perhaps Ronald Acuña Jr. will. Both are deserving. However, it isn’t every day, if ever, you see a 40-homer bat with impeccable defense, and leadership, hitting well above .300 while playing three different positions.

Betts is, quite simply, built differently and doing something unprecedented.

On the pitching side of things, this was yet another game to illustrate not only the greatness of Kershaw, but what it entails even on nights things aren’t working out like they’re supposed to.

Both starters struggled tonight with their primary stuff. Kershaw could not locate his fastball through the first couple of innings, and Kelly’s cutter earned but a single whiff and called strike on 22 tries.

What you do when things aren’t all perfect is what defines you, and Kershaw still managed to put himself in line for a win. Kershaw’s 209th win ties him with Don Drysdale for second-most in Dodgers history.

Kershaw allowed only one run on a solo shot from Corbin Carroll, in a ball that kept backspinning its way beyond the center field wall. Beyond that, none of the other five who reached base none came across to score on Kershaw.

Merrill Kelly was coming off of the best outings of his career, with a one-hitter and 12 strikeouts across seven scoreless innings against the Reds.

But against the Dodgers he got lit up, for seven runs across five innings, allowing runs in four of his five innings on the mound.

None of this serves to demerit Kelly as a player; However, the contrast between what an off night can mean to a good pitcher with what it can mean to one of the greatest ever, it was drastic, in this blowout win for the Dodgers.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: Mookie Betts (36), Will Smith (17); Corbin Carroll (23)

WP -- Clayton Kershaw (12-4): 5 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

LP -- Merrill Kelly (10-6): 5 IP, 12 hits, 7 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Up next

The Dodgers for for the sweep on Wednesday (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with Ryan Pepiot pitching bulk innings. Brandon Pfaadt starts for Arizona.