LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers desperately needed a stopper to end their six-game losing streak. Up stepped Clayton Kershaw, with his arm and bat.
Kershaw pitched a three-hitter, struck out 14 and also singled home the only run, leading the Dodgers over the San Diego Padres 1-0 on Sunday.
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner improved to 53-25 in his 120 career starts following a Dodgers loss, and the team is 77-43 in those games.
“You’d be lying if you said that you didn’t want to be the guy to end the streak. So it definitely feels good to be a part of that,” Kershaw said.
“We definitely needed a win, there’s no doubt about it. Finishing the game is great — something you take a little pride in, for sure,” he said.
Kershaw (3-1) pitched his 13th shutout and 22nd complete game in 248 career starts. The lefty walked none and retired the first 14 batters.
Kershaw’s single in the third inning off Drew Pomeranz (2-2) was one of three hits the Padres lefty allowed through seven innings.
Kershaw set the tone by striking out his first four batters on 16 pitches.
“It’s always great to get off to a good start like that,” he said. “Sometimes in a day game here, I know some guys complain about being able to see the ball. So I’m sure that played into it a little bit, too — guys swinging through fastballs and things like that. But nonetheless, I’ll take it.”
Kershaw is 6-0 with an 0.98 ERA in his last nine starts against the Padres. The 2014 NL MVP threw seven innings of one-hit ball at San Diego on opening day in a 15-0 victory.
“You definitely knew he was on his game. He was so locked in and so dominant, he was extremely tough to square up,” catcher A.J. Ellis said.
The Dodgers have shut out San Diego in four of their six meetings this season, and the Padres have been blanked seven times overall. This game took just 2 hours, 7 minutes.
The Padres got their first baserunner with two outs in the fifth when Alexei Ramirez singled inside first base. Ramirez was thrown out by right fielder Yasiel Puig when he tried to stretch it into a double.
San Diego’s only other hits were back-to-back singles with one out in the seventh by Wil Myers and Matt Kemp, putting runners at the corners. But Kershaw struck out Melvin Upton Jr. and retired Derek Norris on a flyball with his 81st pitch.
Ellis doubled with one out in the third and scored on the hit by Kershaw.
“There’s not really much to say. I threw a bad pitch to Ellis, Kershaw bounced one up the middle, and that’s the game, I guess,” Pomeranz said.
Kershaw struck out Padres leadoff hitter Jon Jay all four times up. . Kershaw has pitched at least seven innings in all six starts. This was his 45th career game with double digits in strikeouts.
Padres: RHP James Shields (0-4) will start Monday night in the opener of a three-game series against Colorado at Petco Park. The Rockies hit three home runs against him on April 10 at Coors Field en route to a 6-3 victory. Shields is 13-11 with a 3.86 ERA in 38 starts with San Diego since signing a four-year, $75 million contract in February 2015 as a free agent.
Dodgers: LHP Scott Kazmir (1-2, 5-76 ERA) will make his fifth attempt to get his 100th regular-season victory on Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game set at Tampa Bay, the club he began his big league career with in 2004. The three-time All-Star spent five-plus seasons with the Rays, going 55-44 in 144 starts. Against them, he is 1-4 with a 5.15 ERA in five career starts.