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HRs, 3-run 3rd back Kershaw to top Jays

May 7, 2016

TORONTO -- Clayton Kershaw struck out 10 over seven strong innings while Adrian Gonzalez delivered a key two-run single in the Dodgers' 6-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.Kershaw, who was making his first career start north of the border, scattered eight hits and didn't

TORONTO -- Clayton Kershaw struck out 10 over seven strong innings while Adrian Gonzalez delivered a key two-run single in the Dodgers' 6-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
Kershaw, who was making his first career start north of the border, scattered eight hits and didn't walk a batter en route to his fourth victory of the season. He has struck out at least 10 batters in four consecutive starts and has allowed more than two earned runs just once in seven starts this year.

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"That's a great team, they've got a lot of guys, not only with talent, but grinding of at-bats," Kershaw said. "They got my pitch count up there really quickly. They are good hitters for a reason. I was in and out today. My fastball command was not as good as I'd like, I was working from behind and it made it tough. But it kind of worked out today."
Gonzalez went 2-for-4, while center fielder Joc Pederson and third baseman Justin Turner each added solo home runs. Shortstop Corey Seager also had a two-hit afternoon for the Dodgers, which included a run and a walk.

"Today was a good formula," Kershaw said. "That's a typical good game for us, what it should look like. We've got to start repeating this performance."
R.A. Dickey was charged with the loss after he surrendered four runs -- two earned -- on six hits and one walk. He was let down by his defense during a three-run third inning that saw second baseman Darwin Barney commit an error and catcher Josh Thole charged with a passed ball.

Barney led the way on offense for Toronto with a two-hit afternoon, which included an RBI single, and he later scored a run. Center fielder Kevin Pillar added an RBI double, but for the most part, Toronto's offense was held in check by the Dodgers' three-time National League Cy Young Award winner. The Blue Jays also had their winning streak snapped at four games.
"I thought Kershaw, as the game went on, he kicked it in and was really dominating," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We battled him early, and then he found it like a lot of the great ones do. … It was the wrong day to be facing Kershaw. He's not going to give up a whole heck of a lot, and they scored a few too many."
Finally, a setup:Pedro Baez put the Blue Jays down in order in the eighth inning, a nice rebound from the three runs he allowed in two-thirds of an inning against Tampa Bay in his last appearance Wednesday night. Baez turned the game over to Kenley Jansen in the ninth.

"I just believe in continuing to give these guys opportunities for success," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "I just believe in using the pitchers we have in certain matchups that make sense to benefit them."
Contact is a good thing: Leading up to Gonzalez's two-run single, the struggling Dodgers offense put the ball in play and good things happened. Chase Utley lined a single to center. Seager and Turner followed with soft bouncers, but third baseman Josh Donaldson couldn't glove Seager's single and second baseman Barney dropped Turner's for an error.
Hometown boy: Pillar has enjoyed quite the series against the team he grew up rooting for. Toronto's center fielder hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning of Friday night's game, and he added an RBI double Saturday afternoon. Pillar's double to left came in the bottom of the fifth inning off Kershaw and cut Los Angeles' lead to 4-2. In the ninth, Pillar added yet another spectacular catch in center field, which has become part of his regular routine. He sprawled out to take extra bases away from Carl Crawford in his latest must-see moment.

"It definitely started moving away from me," Pillar said of Crawford's shot to the gap. "Just good placement, [Tim] Leiper puts us in a good spot to be successful. It was a tough play." More >
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"He's very, very competitive with himself, so he expects perfection and he works toward that. His arsenal is maybe the best arsenal in baseball. … He's a once-in-a-generation type, and he has all of the tools." -- Dickey, on Kershaw
Blue Jays starters have worked at least six innings in 12 consecutive games. The rotation also has held the opposition to three earned runs or fewer in 10 straight outings. Toronto leads the American League with 22 quality starts this season.
The Dodgers successfully challenged a call by plate umpire James Hoye with the bases loaded and no outs in the third inning, when Utley tried to score on a passed ball. Thole retrieved the ball and threw to Dickey for the tag and Hoye called Utley out, but the call was overturned upon review and Utley was safe with the tie-breaking run.

Dodgers: Rookie Ross Stripling (0-2, 4.33 ERA) will pitch and Gonzalez will be the designated hitter in the series finale that starts at 10:07 a.m. PT on Sunday. Stripling hasn't reached the fifth inning in two of his past three starts.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada (1-2, 2.64 ERA) will take the mound in the series finale against the Dodgers, with first pitch scheduled for 1:07 p.m. ET on Sunday. Estrada surrendered one run over six innings during his last start against the Rangers, but he took a no-decision because of the lack of early run support.
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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

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