Kershaw's gem, LA's rout net ace win No. 150
Left-hander fans seven in seven innings; Turner leads offense with home run, five RBIs
SEATTLE -- Starting pitcher victories don't have the same allure as they once did, but 150 wins are still a bunch and Clayton Kershaw hit that milestone on Sunday when the Dodgers routed the Mariners in the rubber game of their series, 12-1.
Justin Turner turned it into a blowout with a three-run homer off position player Andrew Romine in the ninth inning, giving Turner a fourth hit and five RBIs. Enrique Hernandez also homered and had three RBIs, and reliever Zachary Rosscup sealed the win with an immaculate inning. The Dodgers beat the Mariners Friday night, 11-1, then suffered a distressing and controversial balk-off loss Saturday night, 5-4.
Judging from the 5-0 lead the offense gave Kershaw in the first inning, there was no hangover effect. As Kershaw noted, a third-place club two games out of first place can't afford a hangover effect. The Dodgers trail Arizona by two games and Colorado by 1 1/2 games.
"I don't know how many games we've got left , but it's now or never," he said. "We better start playing, we better get good."
Kershaw (6-5) allowed only one run on four hits in seven innings for his 14th quality start of the season. The only pitchers in Los Angeles history with more victories than his 150 are Hall of Famers: Don Sutton, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.
Since coming off the disabled list for the second time on June 23, Kershaw is 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA. Since the All-Star break, he's 3-1 with a 1.77 ERA. Kershaw struck out seven with one walk, efficiently firing first-pitch strikes to 23 of 26 batters.
The starting pitcher match-up quickly turned into a mismatch. Mariners spot starter Roenis Elias came off the disabled list to throw 44 first-inning pitches -- and the Dodgers didn't even get an extra-base hit. Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig had two-run singles, while Hernandez singled in another, with two stolen bases from Puig and another from Chris Taylor.
"When you get a starting pitcher to throw 80 pitches in three innings, that's when our offense is at its best," said Turner. "We got Kersh some breathing room so he could attack guys. Up and down the lineup, guys are feeling pretty good."
The Dodgers added an unearned run in the fourth inning on Hernandez's bases-loaded walk and nearly had much more, but right fielder Mitch Haniger ran down Taylor's deep drive to end the inning.
Seattle scored a two-out run in the fourth on a ground-rule double by Kyle Seager and an RBI single by Ryon Healy, who took second on Hernandez's overthrow of home. Hernandez homered in the sixth inning, his 18th and first in 21 games, estimated by Statcast™ at 426 feet.
But Kershaw had a comfortable lead and knew what to do with it.
"Go right after guys, try to get quick outs," he said. "You can't just throw balls right down the middle, that's a good team in the playoff hunt for a reason. Be aggressive when you can, use your pitch mix when you can. Just throw strikes and hope for the best."
Kershaw said his two-strike slider was more effective in his previous start against the Giants, but overall, his command was "decent" and his curve was better.
"Overall," he said, "a pretty good day."
• Machado hit by pitch on wrist; X-rays negative
• Mariners catcher Chris Herrmann exits with bruised right knee
Turner extended his hitting streak to 13 games (averaging .462) and Bellinger to 12 games (averaging .479). Machado scored his 500th career run, becoming the third-youngest active player to record 1,000 hits and 500 runs in his career.
The Dodgers entered Sunday leading MLB with 19 stolen bases this month, and added five in this game. They came into the month 27th in MLB in steals.
HE SAID IT
"Now we've got to figure out ways to be on the right end of the one-run games. Winning the close games is something we have to do a better job of." -- Turner
The Dodgers open a homestand on Monday with Alex Wood opposing Austin Gomber and the Cardinals in a 7:10 p.m. PT start. Wood has 11 consecutive starts without allowing more than three earned runs, making him the most consistent of the Dodgers' rotation. He's also pretty good at Dodger Stadium over his career: 17-7, 2.76 ERA.