LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw wound up flat on his back, his legs shoulder's width apart and his right hand desperately reaching for third base on Tuesday night, completing a slide that, admittedly, "wasn't very pretty."The game's premier pitcher had challenged the game's premier position player on a
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw wound up flat on his back, his legs shoulder's width apart and his right hand desperately reaching for third base on Tuesday night, completing a slide that, admittedly, "wasn't very pretty."
The game's premier pitcher had challenged the game's premier position player on a base hit up the middle, and Angels center fielder Mike Trout had won, nailing Kershaw as he attempted to go from first to third on Chase Utley's single.
Trout made a rare fielding error on the next play, dropping Justin Turner's fly ball to give the Dodgers a two-out run, and his Angels eventually lost, 5-1. But Trout was able to manage a smile when asked about cutting down Kershaw, who was dominant on the mound.
"Yeah," he said, "that was good. You work on stuff in early [batting practice]. I'm still trying to work on the accuracy of my arm, getting stronger. It's showing."
With one out in the bottom of the third and the Angels leading, 1-0, at Dodger Stadium, Trout ranged to his right, charged Utley's single and fired a perfect throw to third baseman Yunel Escobar, who lunged at a sliding Kershaw to record the out.
Kershaw, who had ripped a single to right field off Jered Weaver, ran at a top speed of 19.18 mph and went first-to-third in 7.81 seconds, according to Statcast™. Trout's throw registered at 92.7 mph, giving him his third outfield assist this season -- four away from his career high, set last year.
The throw was the strongest that Statcast™ has tracked for Trout all season.
"Trout had to go deep for the ball, so I thought I would try it," said Kershaw, who wound up pitching eight brilliant innings of one-run ball. "It was not a good idea."
Kershaw struck out 11 over eight innings to improve to 6-1 on the season, while lowering his ERA to 1.67. He didn't walk a batter in Tuesday's outing and he has struck out at least 10 with one or no walks in six consecutive starts, extending his own modern-day record. Six straight starts with at least 10 strikeouts also is a Dodgers franchise record (the MLB record is eight by Pedro Martinez in 1999 and Chris Sale in 2015). Each of Kershaw's last five victories have followed losses for the Dodgers.
Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast.