SAN DIEGO -- The Padres always bring out the best in Clayton Kershaw and both sides were true to form on Monday night, as the ace continued his upward trend by allowing only two hits over six scoreless innings in an 8-2 Dodgers win.On the season, Kershaw is 3-4 with
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres always bring out the best in Clayton Kershaw and both sides were true to form on Monday night, as the ace continued his upward trend by allowing only two hits over six scoreless innings in an 8-2 Dodgers win.
On the season, Kershaw is 3-4 with a 2.62 ERA. He struck out five, walked one with a wild pitch and didn't allow a runner past second base. It was his second consecutive six-inning start, and 89 pitches were the most since May 1, after which he went on the disabled list with left biceps tendinitis.
"He was in rhythm and synch with his delivery, and this was the best I've seen his slider," said manager Dave Roberts. "I thought the fastball command was good and he really wasn't stressed too much. He felt strong enough to keep going, so that was a good thing. He has one more start Saturday [before the All-Star break]. A lot of positives for him."
The Dodgers have won his last 13 starts against the Padres, Kershaw going 10-0 with a 0.89 ERA over a stretch that began in September 2013. In his career, the lefty is 18-6 against San Diego.
He also reached a personal milestone, surpassing 2,000 career innings. He's the first Dodger to pass that mark since Orel Hershiser in 1993 and the 13th overall.
"I should have done it a lot sooner. Keep getting hurt," said Kershaw. "It's cool, it is. Sounds like a lot of innings, hopefully I've got a few more left."
In four starts back from the DL and a strained lower back, Kershaw has allowed five runs in 20 innings. And he caught the Padres weary after they played a 16-inning game in Arizona on Sunday.
"It was a good day," said Kershaw, as he held 3-year-old daughter Cali in his arms. "Definitely a step in the right direction. They were patient, got my pitch count up there, but for the most part, made some good pitches when I needed to."
The first hit off Kershaw was by Padres pitcher Luis Perdomo, who was more effective at the plate than on the mound, as the Dodgers effectively won the game in a five-run fourth inning sparked by returning outfielder Alvin Toles.
The game also marked the first time Kershaw faced his longtime friend and former batterymate, A.J. Ellis, who grounded out and flied out in two at-bats.
"That was miserable," Kershaw said. "I've faced a lot of ex-teammates and friends in this game, but probably nobody with the history I have with A.J. We both decided it's probably the last time I have to do that."
The Dodgers in the second inning had a double, two singles and a walk without scoring. But in the fourth, Toles, Yasmani Grandal and Cody Bellinger doubled, Toles driving in two runs, Grandal one. Bellinger finished with a pair of doubles and an infield single. Justin Turner had three singles and two RBIs.
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Toles -- making his season debut and starting in center field after being recalled earlier in the day to replace the injured Yasiel Puig -- was intentionally walked in his second-inning at-bat with runners on second and third. He came up in the fourth with runners on the corners and took the first pitch as Chris Taylor stole second base. With first base open, this time the Padres pitched to him and Toles doubled.
He moved to third base on Kershaw's groundout, then with the infield in, Toles raced home on Joc Pederson's grounder to second baseman Jose Pirela, whose throw to Ellis was high as Toles dove across the plate.
HOW'S THE HEATER?
For those closely monitoring Kershaw's fastball velocity, Statcast™ shows that his average on Monday night was 90.8 mph, compared to 91.2 mph in his previous start and 91.7 two starts ago.
HE SAID IT
"I wish you hadn't told me that." -- Kershaw, when told the Dodgers have beaten the Padres in each of his last 13 starts against them
"He probably wasn't trying to throw a pitch down the middle, to be honest with you, now that I think about it." -- Toles, on his double off Perdomo
Despite a stiff neck from baserunning misadventures, Rich Hill is expected to start Tuesday night against the Padres and Eric Lauer. Hill seems to have shaken off the rust after two stints on the disabled list with chronic finger blisters. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PT.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.