First it looked like Clayton Kershaw might throw his second no-hitter of the season. Then it looked like he might suffer a heartbreaking loss. And then finally it was just another masterpiece.
Kershaw received a major assist from Justin Turner, whose two-run homer in the eighth lifted the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory over the Padres on Thursday before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 39,596.
Incredibly, it was the first time all season the Dodgers have rallied to win a game they trailed after seven innings. Until Thursday, the Dodgers had been 0-46 when trailing after seven.
Kershaw (15-3) had to be sharp because San Diego right-hander Tyson Ross was matching him scoreless inning for scoreless inning.
For a long while, Kershaw made a bid to become the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1978 to throw two no-hitters in one regular season.
Kershaw had walked catcher Rene Rivera in the second inning, though he was erased on a double play. With two outs in the sixth, he had faced the minimum number of batters.
That’s when the Padres finally managed their first hit, if from their least likely source.
Ross, all 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds of him, had been keeping pace with Kershaw but then he did something with the bat. The .170 hitter lined a clean single into left-center and over the glove of leaping shortstop Miguel Rojas for the Padres’ first hit.
The Padres must have found that encouraging, because in the next inning they managed to break the scoreless deadlock.
Abraham Almonte led off the inning with a basehit, and Kershaw then walked Jedd Gyorko. He was able to get Tommy Medica on a fly to center, Almonte tagging and taking third.
But Rivera proved a problem. He lined a 2-2 pitch into left to score Almonte, and despite pitching brilliantly, Kershaw found himself down.
Ross had retired 12 consecutive Dodgers and was fairly breezing when Carl Crawford led off the eighth with an infield single off the glove of the pitcher. Crawford just did beat the throw.
That brought up Turner, who promptly drilled a 1-0 pitch over the left-center wall. It was his fourth home run of the season, but maybe his biggest. Bubbles were back in the dugout.
Kershaw went eight innings, holding the Padres to the one run on three hits. He walked two and struck out 10. After losing his last start, he has now won 12 of his last 13 decisions.
Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for the Dodgers and allowed a walk and the tying run to advance to second, before striking out pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal to end it and pick up his 36th save.
The Giants split a pair of games with the Cubs, so the Dodgers gained a half-game in the National League West standings, pushing their lead back to 3 1/2 games.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times