Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers blank Tigers
On the day owner Frank McCourt’s hold on the Dodgers was further compromised by Commissioner Bud Selig’s decision to reject a proposed television contract, McCourt’s highest-paid employees continued their own uphill climb.
And like their apparently underfunded boss, the seemingly overmatched players don’t look ready to concede that their fate is sealed.
The Dodgers scratched and clawed their way to a 4-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night at Dodger Stadium, securing runs from the unlikeliest of sources to improve to eight games under .500.
Juan Uribe hit his first home run in almost two months. Dioner Navarro, who came in hitting .175, doubled in a run. Pitcher Clayton Kershaw singled in two.
Kershaw, who put the game out of reach with a two-out, two-strike grounder into right field in the eighth inning, was sublime on the mound. He pitched a two-hitter, his second shutout this season and third of his career, striking out 11 batters, walking only one and lowering his earned-run average to 3.01.
“He was flat-out dominating,” Navarro said.
The shutout was the Dodgers’ second in a row; they had blanked the Houston Astros, 1-0, on Sunday.
Kershaw (7-3) didn’t have much to work with for most of the game, as the only run the Dodgers scored in the first five innings came on a first-inning home run by Uribe, who hadn’t hit one since April 29.
Navarro, whose home run was the difference Sunday, doubled in James Loney to make it 2-0 in the sixth.
The inning was the last pitched by former Dodger Brad Penny, who was charged with two runs and seven hits.
Penny was the Dodgers’ opening-day starter in 2008, an honor bestowed upon Kershaw this year.
Kershaw’s hit put the game out of the Tigers’ reach in the eighth. He is batting .294 and has 10 hits, matching his total for the previous three seasons combined.
Dodgers pitchers have 23 hits, as many as they had all of last season.
“I’m just trying to keep up with Bills,” Kershaw said, referring to Chad Billingsley, who leads the pitchers with a .308 average.
Kershaw added, “Baseball’s fun,” but also acknowledged it hasn’t always been that way this season. “It’s not fun to lose,” he said.
But Don Mattingly said the team’s mounting defeats haven’t affected Kershaw. “He keeps going to work,” the manager said.
Mattingly said he has been particularly impressed by Kershaw’s between-starts throwing sessions. “They’ve turned into an art form,” he said.
Mattingly said he wasn’t surprised, noting that when Kershaw broke into the majors as a 20-year-old in 2008, he did so armed with only a fastball and curveball.
“He came here as a two-pitch guy,” Mattingly said. “He was a one-side-of-the-plate guy. All of the strikes were inside.”
But Kershaw added a slider. He added a changeup.
“That’s a huge change,” Mattingly said. “You see a lot of guys who come in with his type of stuff, his type of potential. But two years later, they look exactly the same.”
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