LOS ANGELES -- The added incentive behind Clayton Kershaw's stellar performance had more to do with a tired bullpen than the fact that it was his first start since appealing a five-game suspension.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre needed Kershaw (10-5) to eat up as many innings as possible after using all nine of his relievers in Saturday's 13-inning victory, and the 22-year-old left-hander obliged.
"They're a very aggressive team swinging the bat, and they were up there hacking early in the count," Kershaw said. "I just had good fastball command and I was getting some hard outs, right at people. A low pitch count helped me go deeper into the game."
All-Star Jonathan Broxton wasn't available to close it out, after pitching two innings for the first time since May 2009. So Kenley Jansen, a converted catcher, got the save with a perfect ninth - one day after striking out the first two batters in his big league debut.
"Our bullpen was a little short from the long game yesterday, so I just wanted to go out there and pitch as deep as I could," Kershaw said after his 112-pitch effort. "Fortunately, we've got a guy like Kenley out there who can throw the ball when other guys are down."
The Dodgers handed New York its fourth shutout loss on a 2-9 road trip to San Francisco, Arizona and Los Angeles. Mets starter R.A. Dickey came out in the sixth with an injured left leg.
The Mets, who have dropped to third place in the NL East, went scoreless over the final 16 innings after enduring droughts of 24 innings and 17 innings earlier on the trip. They've been held to four runs or fewer in 15 of 16 games, going 4-12 during that span.
"There's no question that everybody's frustrated," third baseman David Wright said. "I think it adds to the frustration that our starters have been throwing the ball extremely well and our bullpen's been solid. We just can't get any runs for them. But now is not the time to hang your head or mope around. We were going up against one of the best young pitchers in the league and we had some good at-bats today, but we hit some balls right at them."
Kershaw stranded six runners, struck out three and issued an intentional walk. He was suspended last Wednesday, one day after hitting San Francisco's Aaron Rowand with a pitch. Both dugouts had been warned two innings earlier, after Matt Kemp was plunked by Tim Lincecum.
Pedro Feliciano (2-5) gave up a one-out single in the eighth to Casey Blake and retired pinch-hitter Rafael Furcal on a foul fly in the right-field corner before the left-hander got a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen. But Martin drove the next pitch to left-center and Kershaw, the scheduled on-deck hitter, gleefully welcomed Blake to the plate before he was lifted for another pinch-hitter.
Dickey allowed two hits over 5 2/3 innings, struck out six and walked none. The right-hander fell down making an 0-1 pitch to Martin leading off the sixth, and catcher Josh Thole went to the mound to see if he was OK. Plate umpire Dana DeMuth quickly followed before summoning manager Jerry Manuel and trainer Mike Herbst.
"I landed awkwardly on the backside of the hole that Kershaw's stride leaves behind, and it just kind of thrusted all my body weight over to my landing leg in a way that was awkward," Dickey said. "I felt like I strained something in my glut or my hip, but I felt like I could walk it off. It's sore right now, but I don't think it's very significant."
After a couple of warmup tosses, Dickey was allowed to continue. He retired Martin on a comebacker, then pounced off the mound to field Kershaw's dribbler and threw him out. But the knuckleballer was pulled moments later - much to his chagrin with a two-hit shutout going - and he began jawing with Herbst all the way back to the dugout long after Manuel had left the mound.
"It seemed like [Manuel] was giving me a chance, but maybe my argument wasn't compelling enough. I don't know. But I definitely felt the compulsion to plead my case, and I did," Dickey said. "On that small comebacker, with the pitcher running, I felt like I could afford to treat it a little more gingerly than I otherwise would. But I think that probably alarmed the powers that be."
Manuel defended his decision to remove Dickey.
"The first time he convinced me that he was OK and he would give it a shot. But then the way he went after the ball in front of home plate, that kind of made my decision," Manuel said.
Dodgers pitcher Carlos Monasterios was struck on the right side of the head by a foul ball off Carlos Beltran's bat in the fourth, but a club spokesman said Monasterios never lost consciousness. He was examined by team physician Neal ElAttrache.
- The Mets are 0-38 when trailing after eight innings.
- Dodgers starting pitchers have a 1.20 ERA over their last nine games.
- Dickey, the first pitcher in Mets history to go 6-0 in his first seven starts with the club, is 0-3 in his last five starts despite a 1.89 ERA.