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.