Kershaw, Puig lead Dodgers past Cardinals
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig jump-started a stagnant Dodgers offense with an RBI double in the seventh inning, and Clayton Kershaw dominated the Cardinals over eight innings of one-hit ball as Los Angeles beat St. Louis, 2-0, on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
Puig, in his first action since the end of April, struck out in his first two at-bats but drove in Chris Heisey for the game's first run in the seventh. Puig scored on the very next play, when Justin Turner singled up the middle.
For the second straight day, the Dodgers and Cardinals engaged in a pitchers' duel, with Los Angeles getting the upper hand this time. Kershaw, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, allowed just a single and struck out 11. In four of his five wins this year, Kershaw has had double-digit strikeouts.
"This was maybe the best slider-curveball combination I've had in a while," Kershaw said. "I just executed some fastballs away that were well located and hard to get a bat on."
Despite St. Louis' run of postseason success against Kershaw, he actually has had the Cardinals handcuffed in his recent non-October appearances against them. Kershaw now has won three straight regular-season games against the Cardinals, pitching at least seven innings in each.
Jaime Garcia went stride-for-stride with Kershaw, opening with six scoreless innings before the Dodgers posted two runs in the seventh to leave the lefty with the loss. Garcia's ERA on the season dropped to 2.67, but his record fell to 1-3.
"Tough one," Garcia said afterward. "I just didn't really execute my pitch right there to Heisey and [Puig]. But they have a good lineup with Major League hitters, and you have to give credit to them, too."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kershaw dominates: A single by Randal Grichuk in the top of the second was the only base hit allowed by Kershaw. The 27-year-old struck out the side in the second and allowed only four baserunners. It's the second time in three starts that Kershaw has not allowed a run.
"Getting the results I want, finally," Kershaw said. More >
Setting the table: Before Puig's go-ahead double, Heisey led off the seventh with a double into the left-field corner. It marked Heisey's first extra-base hit of the season, and he was the first runner in scoring position for either team.
"I thought I had a play on it," Cardinals third baseman Pete Kozma said of Heisey's hit down the line. "It was hit hard, but I just missed it."
No movement: Four times in the first five innings, the Cardinals had someone reach with one out against Kershaw. However, St. Louis never advanced a runner into scoring position. The absence of run support has become the norm for Garcia, who has seen his team score in just one of his four starts this year.
"He hasn't had much support," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Garcia. "He's had some tough matchups, too. This was a tough one, but he answered the bell, in my opinion. He kept us right in that game, to where it was who was going to flinch first." More >
Knocked out: Matt Carpenter took a fastball off his right arm to end an eight-pitch, first-inning plate appearance against Kershaw. He remained in the game, but for only three more innings. Carpenter was later diagnosed with a right triceps contusion.
"Thankfully it hit me in a good spot, in terms of not on the bone," said Carpenter, whose condition is listed as day to day. "But it caught me flush right above the bone, where the triceps meets the elbow. Just as the game went on, it started swelling and I couldn't throw or swing effectively." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Entering Saturday, Kershaw's career ERA of 3.46 against the Cardinals is the highest against any team he's made more than four starts against. He has an 0-4 postseason record in five starts against the Redbirds, and a 6.14 ERA across 29 1/3 innings in NL Division and Championship Series play against St. Louis. When asked if beating the Cardinals meant any more than usual, Kershaw was brief: "No." More >
Cardinals: The Cardinals will close out the first leg of a two-city road trip with a 7:10 pm CT game against the Dodgers on Sunday on ESPN. Lance Lynn, who threw 7 2/3 shutout innings in his last outing, will be seeking his fifth win of the season.
Dodgers: The Dodgers will hand the ball to Zack Greinke to close out the four-game series. Greinke has been the most consistent pitcher for Los Angeles this season, with a 5-1 record and 1.97 ERA.
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