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Dodgers' potent offense helps Clayton Kershaw win a duel that wasn't

Dodgers' potent offense helps Clayton Kershaw win a duel that wasn't
The Dodgers' Cody Bellinger celebrates his two-run home run against the Padres during the third inning Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The pitching matchup at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night was billed as a duel between aces at different stages of their careers. Clayton Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young winner, is attempting to remain among baseball’s elite with diminished stuff. Chris Paddack, a rookie, is trying to solidify his place on that tier with unabashed confidence. The clash did not live up to the hype.

An explosive offense chewed Paddack up and spit him out after 4 2/3 innings as the Dodgers slugged their way to a 6-3 victory. Los Angeles improved to 28-16 overall and 18-6 at home while opening a 4 1/2-game lead in the National League West.

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Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger each delivered a two-run home run off Paddack in the third inning. For Pederson, the homer was his 13th this season and 100th of his career. He is the 28th player to reach the century mark in Dodgers history. Bellinger’s home run was his 15th on the season but his first since April 28. Bellinger added a single to raise his batting average to .409.

The Dodgers (28-16) chased Paddack, 23, after his 92nd pitch with two outs in the fifth inning. The right-hander (3-2) allowed six runs — three earned — on five hits in his first start in eight days. He had given up eight runs — seven earned — in his first seven starts.

“I thought we had a really good plan tonight,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “This young guy’s got a good arm, and he’s had a lot of success up to this point.”

The long ball also hurt Kershaw. The left-hander gave up a solo shot to Franmil Reyes in the first inning. Manny Machado, playing in his first game in Los Angeles since leaving the Dodgers, launched a 441-foot, two-run blast in the fourth after hearing full-throated boos.

“The damage was those two guys in the middle,” Kershaw said. “They made me pay when I made some mistakes.”

It was not a new problem for Kershaw. In six starts this season, the left-hander has surrendered seven home runs. Two have been to Machado, who has hit four of his nine homers this season in four games against the Dodgers.

But Kershaw (3-0) settled in after Machado’s missile. He limited the Padres (22-20) to the three runs on five hits over seven innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Facing the Padres for the first time since giving up a walk-off grand slam May 5, Kenley Jansen allowed a double to Machado in the ninth inning before shutting the door to record his 13th save this season.

Chargois called up

The Dodgers recalled right-hander JT Chargois from triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday to replace Julio Urias, who was put on administrative leave after his arrest, on the active roster. Roberts said the team chose Chargois over other candidates, including rehabilitating left-handers Caleb Ferguson and Tony Cingrani, to match up better against the Padres.

Chargois, 28, appeared in two games for the Dodgers earlier in the season. He allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Roberts said the club plans on activating Ferguson from the injured list Friday in Cincinnati, meaning Chargois’s time with the Dodgers could end after their two games against the Padres. Ferguson logged a scoreless inning for Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

Rotation reshuffle

Roberts announced that Rich Hill and Walker Buehler will start against the Reds on Friday and Saturday, respectively, but said the club hasn’t decided on a starter for Sunday.

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Kershaw could pitch on normal rest or the Dodgers could have Hyun-Jin Ryu start on six days’ rest.

Ryu last pitched Sunday, when he carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals. He was named the NL player of the week after logging 17 scoreless innings in two starts.

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