Kershaw does it all in impressive win vs. Crew
Lefty strong on mound, makes great catch and hits RBI single
MILWAUKEE -- The two-time Cy Young Award winner raised his career-high win streak to 11, upped his bid for a second Gold Glove Award with a ridiculous diving catch to start a double play, singled home a run and scored another as the Dodgers avoided a series sweep with a 5-1 win over the Brewers on Sunday at Miller Park.
So, is there anything that Clayton Kershaw can't do?
Yes there is, as a matter of fact, according to Kershaw's catcher and close friend A.J. Ellis.
"He can't not compete with every ounce of will he has," Ellis said after Kershaw battled through eight innings, improving to 14-2 with a 1.78 ERA. His last loss was May 28, 3-2 to the Reds. He's 8-1 on the road.
He's a pretty handy guy to stop a losing streak, right manager Don Mattingly?
"Throw him in there as the best guy in any situation, to stop one, to continue a streak or to start a streak," said Mattingly, whose club has a season-high 4 1/2-game division lead. "He's pretty good in any situation."
Kershaw tempered the reviews.
"It was not easy," said Kershaw, whose ERA is 1.16 during the streak, the longest for a Dodger since Orel Hershiser also won 11 straight in 1985.
All the more impressive to Ellis.
"It was a clinic on how to win when you don't even have close to your best stuff," he said.
Kershaw said he felt he allowed the leadoff man on base all game. Actually, it was five of the eight innings. The Brewers scored after the first Kershaw first-inning walk of the year, then ran themselves out of innings repeatedly. He struck out six and walked two.
Meanwhile, torrid Adrian Gonzalez had a pair of doubles and two RBIs to grab a share of the National League lead with 79, going 7-for-10 with five RBIs and five extra-base hits in the series.
"I've got a good feeling right now," said Gonzalez. "I'm a very streaky hitter, so I hope I continue doing that. I've been really good in spurts and really bad in spurts."
Matt Kemp had two hits and an RBI as the cleanup replacement for Hanley Ramirez, now on the disabled list. Ellis, a Milwaukee resident, slugged his first homer of the year. Miguel Rojas, Ramirez's replacement at shortstop, had three hits.
Kershaw wasn't dominating on the mound, but coming off the mound he'll make the highlights, as his glove work cut down a fifth-inning threat with Rickie Weeks on third base and one out.
Jean Segura fouled off a 1-0 suicide-squeeze attempt, then tried it again on the next pitch, popping up the slider in front of the plate. Kershaw came charging off the mound, went into a head-first dive to catch the ball just before it hit the ground and came sliding across the dirt cutout in front of the plate.
He calmly stood up, uniform now filthy, and tossed to third baseman Juan Uribe to double up Weeks. Ellis couldn't believe how much ground Kershaw covered, coming to a stop at the catcher's shin guards
"I did a belly-flop and caught it," Kershaw said. "It was fun to feel like a baseball player once in a while."
It was the fourth runner the Brewers had erased on the bases in a three-inning span, three of them hitters who led off innings with base hits. Kershaw also picked Carlos Gomez off first base.
"I think the little things, when you're facing Kershaw, is always what is going to beat you," said Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke.
The first three Dodgers batters in the third inning tried to bunt and the strategy succeeded in tying the game. Rojas pushed a bunt single when nobody covered first base. Kershaw squared to bunt and was hit on the left foot. After squaring to bunt, Dee Gordon bounced into a force out of Rojas at third base. Carl Crawford singled to load the bases and Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Kershaw. Kemp was robbed of an RBI single by second baseman Weeks to end the inning.
The hot-hitting Gonzalez got the next rally started for the Dodgers with a one-out double into the right-field corner in the fifth and scored on Kemp's single to left.
"He's just in sync," Mattingly said of Gonzalez. "Arizona's park has a similar background to this and he kills the ball there. When he has a guy on third base, he doesn't get greedy, he takes the sacrifice fly; that's what an RBI guy does."
Crawford singled with one out in the seventh, went to second on a wild pickoff from Tom Gorzelanny, continued to third on first baseman Mark Reynolds' throwing error and scored when Gonzalez doubled off the glove of Gomez at the top of the center-field wall.