Not that Clayton Kershaw has built unrealistic expectations or anything, but the guy gave up six hits Tuesday. And get this, he walked a batter.
He did, however, hold the Kansas City Royals scoreless all night, which was a very good thing because the Dodgers supported him with only a lone run until the ninth.
It still added up to a 2-0 victory and Kershaw not throwing one for the ages this time out, just your garden-variety excellent game.
Kershaw went eight innings, striking out eight and walking that one batter. Which makes it all of nine walks on the season in his 72 1/3 innings.
Kershaw (8-2) did extend his scoreless innings streak to 21, so even if he was unable to match that memorable no-hitter, he did just fine. The second batter he faced, Eric Hosmer, singled and there went the consecutive no-hit suspense.
He actually was almost outpitched by Kansas City’s Danny Duffy, who allowed only four hits in his six innings.
But the very first batter the left-handed Duffy (4-7) faced proved his undoing.
Justin Turner, who continues to do a marvelous job filling in for Juan Uribe at third, led off the game with an 11-pitch triple. He scored on an Adrian Gonzalez groundout.
It didn’t seem all that significant at the time, but the longer the game went on, the larger it loomed.
And much like in his no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies, Kershaw seemed to get better as the game wore on. He pitched like he had a plane to catch.
The Royals’ biggest threat came in the seventh when Omar Infante and Danny Valencia put together a pair of one-out singles. A force out put runners on the corners with two outs when Alcides Escobar hit one sharply up the middle.
But Miguel Rojas -- starting at shortstop while Hanley Ramirez nurses a sore shoulder -- made a terrific stop behind the second base bag and threw him out.
The Dodgers managed to provide an insurance run in the ninth after reliever Kelvin Herrera walked Gonzalez and, one out later, gave up a single to A.J. Ellis. Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier, who had only one RBI in his last 16 games, singled to score Gonzalez.
The allure of Kershaw helped the Royals draw an estimated 7,500 in walk-up sales. He didn’t disappoint, even if after throwing 107 pitches through eight innings, Manager Don Mattingly elected to have Kenley Jansen pitch the ninth.
Jansen, his velocity back into the more familiar mid-90-mph range, retired the Royals in order in the ninth to earn to his 26th save.
Kershaw is now 5-0 in June, with a 0.97 earned-run average and 48 strikeouts and two walks in 37 innings.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times