The players on the
About the only person at Petco Park who didn't look concerned was Kershaw.
With the wave of a hand, Kershaw signaled to an approaching team trainer to return to the dugout.
Kershaw wasn't about to be knocked out of a game by a first-inning line drive from
Except maybe the Dodgers.
In a 4-3 victory that included a blown lead by the bullpen and an eighth-inning comeback for the Dodgers, Kershaw delivered another masterful performance.
If not for his team temporarily imploding shortly after his seventh-inning departure, Kershaw would have extended his personal winning streak to four starts. Over 6 2/3 innings, Kershaw limited the Padres to one run and four hits. He struck out 11 and walked three.
The Padres didn't score on him until the seventh inning, when
The performance has become something of the norm in recent weeks for Kershaw, who was 2-3 with a 4.32 earned-run average through his first nine starts of the season.
In his last four starts, Kershaw has posted a 0.94 ERA. Over that period, Kershaw has struck out 39 batters in 28 2/3 innings.
"I don't think it's a whole lot different, honestly," said Manager Don Mattingly.
Mattingly said he was never bothered by Kershaw's early-season results.
"There's no reason to worry," Mattingly said. "His stuff's good."
And, as far as Kershaw's mind-set was concerned, Mattingly said, "Nothing really changes with him."
About the only real drama Kershaw encountered was in the first inning, when he was hit by Upton's comebacker. Upton reached base on what was ruled an infield single and Kershaw walked the next batter, Matt Kemp. But Kershaw forced Yangervis Solarte to pop up to end the inning.
After Upton, the next Padres player to reach scoring position was Solarte, who doubled with two outs in the sixth inning. Kershaw ended the threat by forcing
By then, the Dodgers were leading, 2-0.
A.J. Ellis doubled the lead in the fourth inning, when his single drove in Justin Turner.
This marked the fifth consecutive start by Kershaw that was caught by Ellis instead of the team's primary catcher, Yasmani Grandal. Kershaw had pitched seven or more innings in each of the previous four starts, including a season-high eight innings six days earlier in a victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
On this night, Kershaw was prevented from reaching the seven-inning benchmark by a solo home run by Barmes.
Mattingly allowed Kershaw to retire one more batter, pinch-hitter
With Garcia on the mound and Turner at first base, the Dodgers were about to encounter a near-disaster.
Turner was at first base as a replacement for Gonzalez, who was ejected after grounding into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning. Gonzalez appeared to be upset about the first pitch of the at-bat, which was clearly outside but called for a strike by home plate umpire Doug Eddings.
The next batter,
They didn't trail for long.