Kershaw pitched a two-hitter for his second shutout and complete game in the majors, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the Marlins 8-0 on Sunday.
“I just pounded the strike zone and made them try to beat me instead of beating myself,” Kershaw said. “My slider had pretty good bite early in the game, and then it flattened out a little bit. But I was at least showing them another pitch—and as a result, they were putting the ball in play a little more and not striking out as much. But outs are outs, so I’ll take them.”
Kershaw (6-3) threw 116 pitches, striking out 10 and walking one in his 95th career start. The only hits off the 23-year-old left-hander were a leadoff single in the second by Omar Infante(notes) and a wind-blown double by Logan Morrison(notes) leading off the seventh.
“He was hitting both sides of the plate and throwing inside on lefties, which you don’t see that much from a lefty,” said Wes Helms(notes), who replaced Hanley Ramirez(notes) in the second inning after the All-Star shortstop’s lower back stiffened up. “Kershaw just commanded all of his pitches today, and he had above-average stuff. He knows how to bury his curve ball and his slider. He’s not going to leave it over the middle of the plate. I mean, you get geared up for that heater, and his slider’s hard enough that you can’t hold up when it’s in the dirt.”
Kershaw is 6-0 with a 0.73 ERA in the seven starts in which he has allowed fewer than three earned runs, and 0-3 with a 5.76 ERA in the five starts in which he has allowed three or more earned runs.
“Today he was dominant,” Helms added. “He’s one of those guys you enjoy watching pitch because he knows what he’s doing. He’s got all the pitches. He’s got a great curve ball, changeup and slider, and he was throwing 93-95 miles an hour. So you can’t sit on any of his other three pitches, or else the fastball is going to get by you.”
Kershaw’s other shutout was on Sept. 14, 2010, when he pitched a four-hitter at San Francisco. Two seasons ago, he held the Marlins hitless through seven innings at Miami before Cody Ross(notes) led off the eighth with a double.
“It’s a lot different team now,” Kershaw said. “They’ve got a lot of young guys that I played against in the minor leagues, and they’re swinging the bat really well this year. They got me a little bit in Florida last month, so I just wanted to come back out and attack them—especially with a big lead. It always feels better to have eight runs on the board.”
Kershaw had two hits and an RBI. Rafael Furcal(notes) hit his first home run of the season and drove in three runs, helping lead a 17-hit attack by a sporadic offense that had produced fewer than three runs in 23 of the team’s first 53 games.
Ricky Nolasco(notes) (4-1) surrendered eight runs and 15 hits over five innings in his second career start at Dodger Stadium. The right-hander, who was born in nearby Corona, is 0-2 with a 7.33 ERA in his four career starts against Los Angeles.
“It just wasn’t my day, obviously,” said Nolasco, in the first year of a three-year, $2.65 million contract after averaging 14 victories over the previous three seasons. “They have a really good lineup over there. I fell behind some hitters and they made me pay for my mistakes. Even when I was ahead of guys, I couldn’t put them away. You just have to shake it off.”
Kemp, the Dodgers’ cleanup hitter, came up with the bases loaded after a one-out intentional walk to Andre Ethier(notes). He fell behind 0-2 on a borderline pitch, then grounded into an inning-ending double play on Nolasco’s next delivery. As he crossed the third base line to retrieve his glove, Kemp turned his head to say something to plate umpire Ron Kulpa and was ejected before he got to the dugout.
Kemp then tried to get at Kulpa before he was restrained by teammate Dioner Navarro(notes). Mattingly took up the argument and also was banished, but kept jawing with Kulpa in an animated manner before play finally resumed. The ejection was Mattingly’s second of the season and first before the home crowd. The other was on May 9 at Pittsburgh.
Kershaw triggered a four-run third with the first of his two singles and scored when Furcal drove a 1-0 pitch into the right field bullpen for his first homer since his solo shot off Giants ace Tim Lincecum(notes) on July 30, 20010, at San Francisco. Jay Gibbons(notes) and Navarro capped the rally with RBI singles.
Notes: Kershaw’s six hits this season are a career high. He entered the game with a lifetime batting average of .092 (14 for 153) The Dodgers placed RHP Kenley Jansen(notes) on the 15-day disabled list because of bursitis in his shoulder, which was revealed in an MRI. RHP Travis Schlichting(notes) was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for RHP John Lindblom, who joined the big club after his contract was purchased from Double-A Chattanooga. … Morrison has reached base either on a hit or a walk in all 30 games he has played this season—the longest current streak in the majors. He had a 42-game streak last year as a rookie. … The Marlins haven’t homered in five straight games, their longest drought of the season.