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Kershaw cruises as Dodgers thump Rangers

March 23, 2017

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Chase Utley got the Dodgers started with a two-run home run in the first inning, and behind ace Clayton Kershaw, they went on to a 10-2 victory over the Rangers at Surprise Stadium on Thursday.Kershaw was sharp for six scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Chase Utley got the Dodgers started with a two-run home run in the first inning, and behind ace Clayton Kershaw, they went on to a 10-2 victory over the Rangers at Surprise Stadium on Thursday.
Kershaw was sharp for six scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits and one walk while striking out 11. He threw 71 pitches and lowered his spring ERA to 2.14.
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"Better, definitely," Kershaw said. "Fastball command wasn't quite as good as I need it for the season, I thought. I fell behind a lot of guys, just long at-bats that gets your pitch count up there and makes it hard to go seven or eight innings."

Utley's home run came off of Rangers starter Dillon Gee, who is trying to win a spot in either the Rangers' rotation or bullpen. Gee worked 3 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs, four earned, on nine hits.
"I felt Gee battled through three-plus," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We didn't help him with a couple of errors, but you have to continue and attack the strike zone."
Utley, playing first base, went 3-for-4 and is now hitting .405 for the spring. Third baseman John Forsythe was 2-for-4 and is hitting .424. Shortstop Charlie Culberson was 2-for-3 with a walk at the bottom of the Dodgers' order.
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Rob Segedin, who replaced Forsythe in the bottom of the seventh, connected on his third home run of the spring.

In the bottom of the ninth, Rangers outfield prospectDrew Robinson hit a two-run homer to put Texas on the scoreboard. It was his fourth home run of Cactus League play.
WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: To line up the expected starters for the opening of the regular season, Trevor Oaks gets the ball on Friday against Arizona in a 1:05 p.m. PT start at Camelback Ranch-Glendale, with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (elbow) likely to return to the lineup.
Rangers: Left-hander Martin Perez starts against the Mariners at 3:05 p.m. CT Friday in Surprise. This will be Perez's first outing since returning from pitching for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. The game can be heard free via an exclusive MLB.com webcast.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.