Kershaw throws four-hit shutout for Dodgers

Jack Etkin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The resurgent Los Angeles Dodgers climbed out of last place in the muddled National League West for the first time in nearly two months by pounding the Colorado Rockies 8-0 on Tuesday night.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw pitched a four-hitter -- all singles -- for his third complete game and second shutout of the season. He lowered his ERA to a National League-leading 1.93 and allowed one runner to reach second base while striking out eight with no walks and throwing 79 of 108 pitches for strikes. The Dodgers' offense backed Kershaw with five runs in the first four innings.
"Early on, I was catching some breaks," Kershaw said. "They hit some balls hard right at guys. Other than that, I had pretty good fastball command today, better than I've had in recent games. And obviously getting a lead like that is huge.
Michael Cuddyer, hitless in three at-bats, received a standing ovation when he came up with two out in the ninth. He flied to right to end both the game and his franchise-record 27-game hitting streak. Cuddyer had also reached base in a franchise-record 46 straight games
"It's a cool moment," Kershaw said. "He had a great thing going. I think in that situation, you definitely don't want to walk him. You want to at least give him some fastballs, not give him a pitch to hit. ... He was a little aggressive. He wanted to get some hits and swung at some balls out of the zone."
Cuddyer said, "If it was going to end, might as well end against the best pitcher in the league. His ball had really late life on it, really late movement. His fastball was over the plate, not over the heart but over the plate. At the very last second, it was cutting in on righties and away from lefties. He was tough tonight."
Phenom Yasiel Puig, who began his second month in the big leagues, went 3-for-5 with a double, his eighth home run and two runs scored. He also struck out twice. Puig has played 27 games and has had three or more hits in eight of them. He's hitting .443 (47-for-106).
"Puig's on another planet," Kershaw said. "You keep thinking he can't keep this up and not just singles but hitting the ball really hard everywhere."
Puig showed his speed on a defensive play to end the fourth. Running a long way -- Kershaw said, "I feel like he ran an entire football field to get there" -- Puig caught a foul ball hit by Nolan Arenado, angling away from the stands just before banging into them.
"That was a wild catch, actually," Mattingly said, "because he made that look really easy. And that looked really dangerous to me because he looked like he was about a half step away from clipping that wall. How you do that at full speed, I don't know."
Puig led off the seventh with his home run, driving a 1-2 slider that was down and on the corner from Adam Ottavino over the wall in center.
The Rockies (41-43) were shut out at home for the first time since Sept. 29, a 3-0 loss also to Los Angeles.
The Dodgers have won nine of their past 10 games to improve to 39-43. They were 9 1/2 games behind on June 22, but on Tuesday they moved ahead of the San Francisco Giants into a tie for third and just 2 1/2 games behind. The Dodgers had last been out of the NL West cellar on May 5.
"Things are just kind of coming together. We're healthy," Mattingly said. "It feels good, but that's when I say stay humble, keep working. We've got ourselves back in it now. When you're back there at nine or 10 (behind), you're in a dangerous spot because you go in a little bad spell then and all of a sudden you're in really deep trouble."
Roy Oswalt, trying to revive his career at the age of 35, lost his third straight start for the Rockies. He gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings in his first start for Colorado at Coors Field, leaving him with a 7.88 ERA and 27 hits allowed in 16 innings.
"I think I'm trying to be too fine," Oswalt said, "trying to throw that nine-inning shutout with 70 pitches, instead of being aggressive like I've always been."
Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the third, following Puig's leadoff double.
The Dodgers also scored twice in the second and once in the fourth. No. 8 hitter Juan Uribe singled home a run in each inning, and Matt Kemp's groundout in the second netted a run after Hanley Ramirez opened the inning with an opposite-field single and Andre Ethier also singled.
NOTES: Rockies CF Dexter Fowler (right wrist) was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 26. Fowler was originally in the lineup but was scratched when his wrist bothered him while swinging in the batting cage. His roster spot was taken by RHP Edgmer Escalona, who had been on the DL due to right elbow inflammation. He pitched the ninth and allowed two hits and one run... RHP Carlos Marmol was acquired by the Dodgers from the Chicago Cubs for RHP Matt Guerrier. Both relievers had been designated for assignment. The Dodgers also acquired an international signing bonus slot valued at $209,700. ... This was the 50th complete-game shutout by an opponent in Denver and the 36th at Coors Field, which opened in 1995. ... Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... Dodgers LF Carl Crawford (left hamstring strain) was scheduled to play seven innings as the designated hitter Tuesday and Wednesday for high Class A Rancho Cucamonga. ... Mattingly said LHP Ted Lilly (neck strain), who was hit in the shin by a comebacker Sunday on a rehab start for Rancho Cucamonga, would have his next rehab start there pushed back a day until Saturday.

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