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Kershaw builds stamina with solid start vs. Giants

MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Before the benches cleared for Madison Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig and before the Giants bullpen imploded yet again as the Dodgers notched a walk-off 2-1 win Monday, Clayton Kershaw pitched six innings and didn't allow an earned run while striking out seven.

It was another step in the ace's progress as he works to return to full strength in time for the postseason. Kershaw threw 88 pitches, his most since his return. He had thrown 66 and 64 pitches in the two prior starts, but that second number doesn't include a simulated inning he threw during a rain delay against the Yankees on Wednesday.

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LOS ANGELES -- Before the benches cleared for Madison Bumgarner and Yasiel Puig and before the Giants bullpen imploded yet again as the Dodgers notched a walk-off 2-1 win Monday, Clayton Kershaw pitched six innings and didn't allow an earned run while striking out seven.

It was another step in the ace's progress as he works to return to full strength in time for the postseason. Kershaw threw 88 pitches, his most since his return. He had thrown 66 and 64 pitches in the two prior starts, but that second number doesn't include a simulated inning he threw during a rain delay against the Yankees on Wednesday.

Full Game Coverage

"This is the third start after 2 1/2 months of being off," manager Dave Roberts said. "For him to go six and give up one unearned run and still trying to figure some things out, I like where he's headed."

As Kershaw tends to be, he wasn't fully satisfied with what was a fairly strong performance. Some mistakes in the third inning led to a run for Giants infielder Eduardo Nunez, and a sloppy fourth increased his pitch count enough to be eliminate any chance at going out for the seventh inning.

Video: SF@LAD: Nunez singles, steals second and scores

Kershaw even walked a batter in the fourth, increasing his walk total on the season to 10 against a mind-boggling 162 strikeouts. He admitted his stuff wasn't as good as his start against the Yankees, in which he was perfect through four innings until a rain delay interrupted his outing.

"That [third] inning wasn't the problem necessarily. Nunez kind of tapped one in the right place for a hit and he picked a good pitch to run on with the curveball. He obviously has a lot of stolen bases for a reason," Kershaw said. "The fourth inning is definitely what killed me, with the 20-something pitches. Couple 3-2 counts and walking a guy, so that got the pitch count a little higher than it could have been. Thought maybe I had a chance to go seven."

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw