Kershaw extends scoreless streak to 37 innings
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout made history at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. It was the first time that a reigning MVP from the National League faced a reigning MVP from the American League.
Trout was 0 for 3 against Kershaw, who extended his scoreless streak to 37 innings with eight innings of two-hit ball and led the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Angels.
“I was just trying to get him out,” Kershaw said. “He’s an unbelievable hitter, probably the best hitter in the game. If he hits three homers and we win, I’ll be OK, too. I don’t think it’s fun to face anybody. But if you get him out, it’s fun.
Trout looked at a called third strike his first time up, grounded into a fielder’s choice, and got robbed of a bloop single by right fielder Yasiel Puig.
“We’ve faced some good pitching the last couple of days,” Trout said. “Obviously, Kershaw today had his dominant stuff once again. That’s why he’s the best in the league. He threw all pitches for strikes today and had his good stuff. Every pitch was cutting, sinking, sliding, curving, the whole bit.”
Kershaw (9-6) struck out seven, walked one and retired his last 15 batters. The left-hander was working on eight days’ rest after his outing was delayed twice because of a sore hip.
“It’s crazy what an extra three days off will do. I don’t like days off, apparently,” Kershaw said. “My off-speed stuff wasn’t as sharp as it has been in the past — and coupled with the Angels not swinging at anything in the dirt made it a little bit difficult at first.
“They had a really good game plan and stuck with it, but I was able to get some quick innings in the middle and I was fortunate to get through eight today. I think my fastball command got a little better as the game went on,” he added.
Kershaw’s previous start was a three-hit shutout on July 23 at New York in which he took a perfect game into the seventh inning. The three-time Cy Young Award winner hasn’t given up a run since Wilmer Flores’ RBI single for the Mets on July 3 at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw had a 41-inning shutout streak last season, when he became the first NL pitcher since 1968 to be named MVP and won his unprecedented fourth consecutive major league ERA title.
Albert Pujols’ leadoff single in the second and Johnny Giavotella’s leadoff single in the fourth were the only hits off Kershaw, who lowered his ERA this season to 2.37 and raised his major league-leading strikeout total to 192.
“Clayton’s tough,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “When he gets a hold of a count he’s pretty good at making pitches, and he did that this afternoon — not only on Mike, but on all of our guys.”
Kershaw benefited from batterymate Yasmani Grandal’s two-run homer in the Dodgers’ three-run sixth inning, and back-to-back dazzling plays by his infield in the second.
Kenley Jansen, battling a virus for the past four days, pitched a shaky ninth for his 20th save in 21 attempts. He ended it by retiring Aybar on a popup with runners at the corners after giving up an RBI single by Pujols.
Andrew Heaney (5-1) was charged with two runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings. The 24-year-old lefty, who came in with a 1.79 ERA, had thrown at least six innings and allowed two runs or fewer in each of his six previous starts with the Angels.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today,” Heaney said. “I should have done a better job of competing and trying to get some early outs. I worked some long counts and wasn’t able to put guys away. I made mistakes in a few spots where it hurt us.”
Angels: An MRI taken on LHP C.J. Wilson’s elbow showed that he has an impingement and is contemplating surgery to remove bone spurs, which would end his season. But first, he will get a second opinion.
Dodgers: Catcher A.J. Ellis, who hasn’t played since July 19 because of inflammation in his right knee, is expected to be reinstated from the disabled list on Tuesday when he is eligible to come off.
Angels: RHP Cory Rasmus, who struck out the side on 12 pitches in the seventh inning on Friday night in his first inning with the club this season, will start the Freeway Series finale.
Dodgers: RHP Mat Latos makes his debut with the club following Thursday’s three-team, 13-player trade with Miami and Atlanta that brought him to Los Angeles from the Marlins and left-hander Alex Wood from the Braves.