Sometimes they’re not gems, they’re just really, really good.
Clayton Kershaw did not throw one of his best games of the season Wednesday night in Phoenix, at least by his lofty standards.
But most pitchers would take a Kershaw performance off a couple clicks and be happy as can be, which is what the Dodgers ultimately were in their 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Not as happy was outfielder Scott Van Slyke, who left the game in the bottom of the fourth inning with a mild ankle sprain. Earlier in the game, he had hit his fourth home run this season off Arizona’s Wade Miley.
The outfield grass seemed to give way as he backed up a diving Yasiel Puig and his ankle took a nasty turn. He fielded the ball and threw underhand, as the Diamondbacks' only run scored. Van Slyke was charged with an error on the throw, making the run unearned.
The Dodgers are calling Van Slyke day-to-day.
Meanwhile, Kershaw just marched on. He gave up the unearned run and six hits and two walks, while striking out 10.
Despite missing about six starts early this season with a back injury, Kershaw became the first pitcher in the majors to win 16 games. He is now 16-4 with a baseball-best 1.73 earned-run average.
The Dodgers, winners of five of their last six, scored all three runs in the third. Dee Gordon started the rally with a bunt single and stole second (stolen base No. 58) before Puig walked.
Matt Kemp, who had started the scoring in Tuesday's win with a two-run homer, this time drilled a two-run double. He was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple, but Van Slyke then added his solo home run.
Van Slyke is eight for 18 lifetime against Miley, with five home runs.
Miley (7-10) survived the rest of the night without damage, but it was too late. The other pitcher was pretty good.
Kershaw pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third, and gave up a leadoff triple to Ender Inciarte and left him stranded at third.
It was Kershaw’s 14th consecutive start going at least seven innings and allowing three or fewer runs.
Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth for the Dodgers for his 38th save of the season and 100th of his career.
The victory raised the Dodgers’ record to 76-58, the first time this season they have been 18 games over .500.