[picappgallerysingle id="8750454"]Kershaw pitched a three-hit gem and James Loney hit a towering shot to center as the hottest team in baseball won their sixth straight over the first-place Padres, 4-1.
It was another masterful outing for Kershaw (3-2, 3.55) as he kept the Padres off-balance all night long throwing seven strong and allowing only one run off three hits, seven K’s, and only two walks.
The lone run came in the first inning after walking lead-off man Scott Hairston, who later scored on Chase Headley’s fielder’s choice. After giving up a lead-off double to Yorvit Torrealba in the second, Kershaw retired 12 of his next 13 batters.
It just goes to show that when Kershaw’s control is on, he is one of the most dominant pitchers in the league; the lefty started the Dodgers’ tear last Sunday striking out nine in a two-hit, eight-inning shut-out over the Rockies.
“He keeps it together,” head coach Joe Torre added. “He doesn’t unravel. For a kid his age, it’s pretty remarkable. It’s a lot of fun to watch him grow into his ability right now. He’s not going to give you the ball. You’re going to have to take it away.” (from Yahoo Sports)
Ramon Troncoso added a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts and then Jonathan Broxton came on to secure the ninth with his sixth save in eight chances.
Loney’s fourth home-run of the season came in the top of the second to tie the game 1-1. Shortstop Jamey Carroll (2-for-3 with a run and a RBI) continued to swing the bat well with a go-ahead single in the fifth scoring Casey Blake. Carroll later scored off Russ Martin’s single to center, and then Garrett Anderson added an insurance run with an RBI triple in the sixth. Just enough offense to squeak by the Pads.
The win does come with some bad news, though, as the Dodgers found out they’d be without slugger and triple-crown leader Andre Ethier, who missed the game with a broken right pinkie.
Ethier said he was taking swings in the indoor batting cage when he pinched his right pinkie against his bat. He took a few more swings during batting practice before telling hitting coach Don Mattingly the problem. Ethier also said the finger bothered him while he was playing catch. According to team officials he’ll be examined by a hand specialist today, but he doesn’t expect to miss more than a few games.
The win does bring the Dodgers within three games of first place, and L.A. could close more ground with a win tonight. After getting over that .500 mark for the first time Friday night, the Dodgers look to build on the momentum with a sweep over the Padres, which would mark back-to-back divisional sweeps.
Chad Billingsley will be looking for his third win in four starts, and second straight on the road. He’ll be taking on Padre left-hander Wade LeBlanc (2-0). Billingsley is 7-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 14 career starts against the Padres, and has earned wins in four of the last six match-ups. Bring out them brooms, Blue!