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The Grand Slam: Clayton Kershaw stingy in return

 

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Clayton Kershaw said he was nervous in making his first start in six weeks, since the Australia trip, for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kershaw's nerves were a bad sign for the Washington Nationals. He shut them out for seven innings in his first appearance since opening day and a muscle strain in his upper back had put him on the disabled list. The Dodgers won 8-3 at Nationals Park on Tuesday night. Via the Associated Press, Kershaw said:

''I'm always nervous, every time I start. You want to do well. Same type of nerves tonight, but after the first inning I was able to settle in OK.''

Kershaw allowed nine hits, all singles, with no walks and nine strikeouts. Perhaps it wasn't 100 percent vintage Kershaw, but it was plenty effective over 89 pitches, 68 of which were strikes.

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(AP)

"He was nasty," Washington's Jose Lobaton said.

So, he was pretty much Kershaw.

GO AHEAD, BRIAN ROBERTS:

The heck with retired Godfather and Sandman Mariano Rivera debating about Robinson Cano or Dustin Pedroia. The New York Yankees were perfectly fine with Brian Roberts being their second baseman Tuesday night when he cranked a tie-breaking home run in the top of the ninth against Ernesto Frieri of Los Anaheim. Frieri has been pitching well since losing his closer job; he just left in a good spot for  Roberts to mash.

The result was a 4-3 victory for the Yankees, who also got a solid performance from Hiroki Kuroda. It was tough luck for C.J. Wilson, who pitched virtually as well as Kuroda.

Roberts had a pair of hits and got his batting average up to .250. It's a major improvement for a guy who has been battling injuries for, seriously, about five years. It's his first homer with someone other than the Orioles.

''Never hit a homer in any other uniform, so I'll take it home,'' said Roberts, who also had an early RBI single. ''I feel like I've gotten a lot more comfortable. Sometimes, some things just click. It's been nice to get something going a little bit.''

Angels angel Mike Trout snapped an 0-for-12 skid, as if anyone were worried.

CG SHO AGAIN FOR HENDERSON ALVAREZ:

When he's on, Henderson Alvarez of the Miami Marlins is really, really on. Like, the on-nest. The Marlins improved to 16-5 at home after Alvarez tossed his second shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory against the New York Mets. Alvarez scattered six hits, relying on his sinker, changeup and quick tempo.

His other victory this season was a shutout, and he's got four shutouts for his career over 65 starts — including his no-hitter against the Tigers on the final day of the regular season in 2013. Marlins manager Mike Redmond says he knows what the Fish have in Alvarez, who came over in the huge trade with the Blue Jays before the 2013 season.

''When you see nights like this, you realize this guy has a chance to be really, really good,'' Redmond said. ''It just comes down to consistency for him.''

The Mets, who went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position, were shut out for the third time.

SIZEMORE TOUCHES GREEN MONSTER FOR WALK-OFF SINGLE IN 12TH:

Grady Sizemore didn't have to wave it fair like Carlton Fisk in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. He just had to get it over the heads of the Cincinnati Reds outfielders. Sizemore's game-ending single off the Green Monster in left drove in the tie-breaking run in a 4-3 victory in 12 innings for the Boston Red Sox.

Not satisfied with being shoved into the history bin himself, Sizemore continued his comeback with three hits and two RBIs. His spectacular spring training got him on the team after two seasons away from the game and multiple surgeries, but it's been a struggle for him once the regular season began. He's been giving the Red Sox good signs lately. Sizemore was an All-Star and MVP candidate with the Indians before injuries engulfed his career. He might never be that Grady Sizemore, but he still could be a player that helps a team win.

''I've got to believe that tonight gives him even further feeling like he's contributing here rather than being someone coming back from an injury,'' Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ''Nights like tonight go a long way and continue to rebuild Grady.''

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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