LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw lowered his major league-leading ERA to 1.88 with eight innings of three-hit ball and had a two-run single, and the Los Angeles Dodgers increased their NL West lead to a season-best 7½ games Sunday night with an 8-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Mark Ellis had a homer and three RBIs to help Los Angeles improve to a major league-best 37-8 since June 22, a stretch that has dramatically turned around their season after they trailed the Arizona Diamondbacks by as many as 9½ games. The Dodgers are a season-best 17 games over .500.
The Rays lost their season-worst fifth in a row, but remained three games behind AL East-leading Boston following the Red Sox’s loss at Kansas City.
Kershaw (11-7) allowed two runs — one earned — and struck out eight to help the Dodgers complete their seventh series sweep of the season.
The Dodgers finished their interleague schedule 11-6, their first winning record against AL clubs since going 10-8 in 2004, and the Rays completed their interleague slate 12-8. Kershaw is 6-3 with a 2.67 ERA in 17 career interleague starts, striking out 116 batters in 111 1-3 innings.
Jeremy Hellickson (10-6) gave up four runs and seven hits through three innings in his first career start against the Dodgers, marking the sixth time in Tampa Bay’s last nine games that its starting pitcher didn’t last five innings.
NATIONALS 6, PHILLIES 0
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Strasburg pitched a four-hitter and struck out 10 in the first complete game of his career, Jayson Werth had his second straight three-hit game and Washington completed a three-game sweep of Philadelphia.
Strasburg (6-9) dominated the reeling Phillies for his first win since July 7 against San Diego. The Nationals had lost five straight games started by the right-hander.
The Phillies never had a runner in scoring position during their 11th straight road loss. Philadelphia has lost nine of 11 overall.
Washington scored two runs in the fourth and three in the fifth against Kyle Kendrick (9-9), who surrendered 11 hits over 5 1-3 innings.
BRAVES 9, MARLINS 4
ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer and Atlanta beat Miami after having its 14-game winning streak snapped Saturday.
B.J. Upton drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly and Chris Johnson hit a two-run double in the four-run seventh inning that broke open a tie game. Jason Heyward had four hits, including a run-scoring single in the eighth.
Evan Gattis had three, including his run-scoring double in the seventh.
Mike Minor (12-5) gave up four runs on six hits and one walk in seven innings, ended a streak of six straight starts with no more than two earned runs allowed.
Dan Jennings (1-3) gave up two runs without recording an out in the Braves’ four-run seventh.
ROCKIES 3, PIRATES 2
DENVER (AP) — Nolan Arenado hit a go-ahead double in the seventh inning and Colorado beat Pittsburgh for a three-game sweep of the NL Central leaders.
The Pirates came to Coors Field this weekend with a five-game winning streak. They hold a three-game edge over St. Louis, and visit the Cardinals for a three-game series starting Tuesday night.
Pedro Alvarez homered for the Pirates. Reliever Bryan Morris (5-5) took the loss.
The Rockies last swept a series April 16-18 against the Mets on their way to a 13-4 start. They have struggled the last two months to fall from the top of the NL West to out of the playoff race.
Manuel Corpas (2-2) pitched a clean seventh inning for the win.
REDS 3, PADRES 2, 13 INNINGS
CINCINNATI (AP) — Joey Votto delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 13th inning and Cincinnati overcame two more errors for its fourth win in five games.
Jack Hannahan drew a one-out walk from Tim Stauffer (1-1) and Shin-Soo Choo snapped a 0-for-16 slump with a one-out double to right field. Ryan Hanigan, pinch-hitting against a drawn-in, five-man infield and shallow two-man outfield, was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
The Padres went back to three outfielders with everybody drawn in, and Votto hit a fly to left field to drive in Hannahan from third base.
Xavier Paul tied the score with a two-run, pinch-hit home run off Ian Kennedy in the eighth. Sam LeCure (2-1), Cincinnati’s seventh pitcher, pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win.
CARDINALS 8, CUBS 4
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Pete Kozma singled home the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning and St. Louis ended a four-game losing streak, beating Chicago and avoiding a sweep.
Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig each had three hits and drove in a run. Jon Jay and David Freese both drove in two runs, though they only had one hit between them.
The Cardinals dropped five of six to begin a 10-game homestand.
Randy Choate (2-1) faced one batter, getting leadoff man David DeJesus to pop out with two men on to end the sixth. Edward Mujica worked the last two innings for his 31st save in 33 chances.
Tony Cruz doubled with two outs in the sixth off Blake Parker (1-2) and scored easily on Kozma’s single. Parker was the winner Saturday with an inning of relief.
ORIOLES 10, GIANTS 2
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — J.J. Hardy hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning, Adam Jones added a three-run shot in the ninth and Baltimore pounded San Francisco.
Hardy’s 21st home run of the season gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead. Four players drove in a run in the eighth, Jones hit his 24th homer and every player in Baltimore’s starting lineup finished with at least one hit.
Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence each hit RBI doubles off Bud Norris in the first for San Francisco’s only runs.
Matt Cain (7-8) retired 15 of the first 16 batters he faced. He struck out five and walked one in seven innings, allowing only an RBI single by Nate McLouth in the sixth before Hardy’s homer.
Troy Patton (2-0) tossed one scoreless inning of relief. Baltimore has won four of its past five games.
METS 9, DIAMONDBACKS 5
PHOENIX (AP) — Andrew Brown’s three-run, pinch-hit home run broke open a close game and New York beat Arizona.
Jonathan Niese (4-6), in his first start since June 20, came off the disabled list to go six innings, giving up four runs and seven hits in his first win since May 16. The Mets took two of three from the Diamondbacks.
The Mets scored four unearned runs in the first, three on first baseman Paul Goldschmidt’s fielding error with two outs and the bases loaded.
Arizona’s Cody Ross was carted off the field in the first inning with a dislocated right hip in the second major league start for Zeke Spruill (0-2).