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Kershaw masterful again as Dodgers shut out Pirates

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw is off to an amazing start -- even by his standards.

The Los Angeles Dodgers' ace followed up his sensational one-man show on opening day with seven innings of two-hit ball and nine strikeouts in a spirited duel with A.J. Burnett, beating Pittsburgh 1-0 Saturday night and handing the Pirates their second straight shutout loss in this three-game series.

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"For me it just starts with throwing strikes," Kershaw said. "Just keep pumping the strike zone and letting the defense work. That's kind of my mindset."

Kershaw (2-0) walked one and retired 17 consecutive batters after giving up a leadoff single in the first inning to Starling Marte. Last Monday, the 2011 Cy Young Award winner threw a four-hitter against the World Series champion Giants and broke a scoreless tie with his first major league home run.

"My fastball wasn't great tonight," Kershaw said. "I was reaching back and didn't have a whole lot in the tank, for whatever reason. But I was able to keep them a little bit off-balance and was able to get some big 3-2 strikeouts with the slider."

Kershaw's latest gem came one night after Zack Greinke held the Bucs to two hits over 6 1/3 innings in a 3-0 victory.

"Right now the offense isn't scoring a ton of runs, so the pitchers have got to pick up the hitters - just like we expect them to pick us up when we're struggling," Kershaw said.

Brandon League followed Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen out of the bullpen and pitched a hitless ninth for his second save.

Burnett (0-2) was charged with a run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, walked four and struck out nine -- including Matt Kemp all three times he faced him.

The right-hander was coming off a 10-strikeout, 3-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs in the Pirates' opener.

"I left it on the field, I know that," Burnett said. "Like I said after my first start, you want to go deep into games, obviously. This was a pitcher's duel right there, man. You're going up against one of the best, so I just wanted to go out there and do what that kid was doing."

Burnett is 1-7 with a 3.04 ERA over his last nine starts since the beginning of last September, receiving fewer than three runs of support in eight of them - and the Pirates have been shut out four times during that stretch. Now that he's their No.1 starter, he'll probably keep getting few runs to work with because he's facing the other team's ace. But that doesn't concern him.

"I want to go up against every ace. That's what I'm here for," Burnett said. "I'm not worried about run support. That's not my thing. That's beyond my control."

Carl Crawford drew a leadoff walk in the Dodgers' first and stole second, but was stranded there as Burkett struck out Mark Ellis, Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez. Crawford stole second again after his two-out single in the third, and Ellis drove him in with a ground single through the left side.

The Dodgers have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Pirates and eight straight in Los Angeles. The only loss came in their final meeting of last season, when Garrett Jones hit a pair of three-run homers in support of Burnett's 10-6 victory.

The Pirates haven't hit a home run through their first five games - tying the 1998 and 1967 squads for the club's longest drought from the start of a season since the middle of World War II (11 games in 1943). That year they hit only two in their first 26 contests.

"We're going through a rough patch, but there's a lot of talent in the room and guys who have some pop. So I don't think we're worried about it," said catcher Russell Martin, who began his career with the Dodgers.

Notes

  • Kemp has struck out five times in five official career at-bats against Burnett, and has walked twice. He grounded into an inning-ending double play with two on in the seventh against Mark Melancon, and is off to a 1-for-18 start.
  • Entering this start, Burnett had allowed as many hits as he had strikeouts (1,981).
  • The Pirates lost three times by 1-0 scores last season and were shut out 15 times all together.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Clayton Kershaw follows up his sensational one-man show on opening day with seven innings of two-hit ball. (USATSI)
Clayton Kershaw follows up his sensational one-man show on opening day with seven innings of two-hit ball. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

C. Kershaw
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 1
K 9
Pittsburgh

A. Burnett
IP 5.1
H 4
ER 1
BB 4
K 9
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starling Marte, LF4020010 .211
Neil Walker, 2B2000101 .125
Andrew McCutchen, CF4000011 .235
Gaby Sanchez, 1B3000011 .077
Russell Martin, C2000100 .000
Pedro Alvarez, 3B3000030 .111
Jose Tabata, RF2000020 .000
   a- Garrett Jones, PH-RF1000000 .154
Clint Barmes, SS3000020 .167
A.J. Burnett, P2000010 .000
    Jared Hughes, P0000000 .000
    Mark Melancon, P0000000 .000
    Tony Watson, P0000000 .000
   b- Travis Snider, PH1000000 .000
Totals27020211  
a-popped out for Tabata in the 8th
b-flied out for Watson in the 9th
Batting
SH - Neil Walker (1)
CS - Russell Martin (1, 2nd base by Kershaw/Ellis)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Alvarez-Walker-G. Sanchez, Barmes-Walker-G. Sanchez
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
A.J. Burnett (L,0-2) 5.1411490 3.27
Jared Hughes 0.2100000 6.75
Mark Melancon 1200000 0.00
Tony Watson 1100120 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 108-70, Jared Hughes 14-7, Mark Melancon 10-8, Tony Watson 20-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 3-3, Jared Hughes 1-1, Mark Melancon 2-0
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 23, Jared Hughes 3, Mark Melancon 4, Tony Watson 5
Los Angeles Dodgers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Carl Crawford, LF3120111 .438
    Paco Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
    Kenley Jansen, P0000000 .000
    Brandon League, P0000000 .000
Mark Ellis, 2B4021022 .375
Matt Kemp, CF4000033 .056
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B3020111 .313
Andre Ethier, RF3010101 .278
A.J. Ellis, C3010101 .250
Luis Cruz, 3B4000026 .000
Justin Sellers, SS4000025 .000
Clayton Kershaw, P1000100 .250
   a- Skip Schumaker, PH-LF1000000 .000
Totals30181511  
a-grounded out for Kershaw in the 7th
Batting
2B - Adrian Gonzalez (2, Watson)
RBI - Mark Ellis (1)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Ellis (1)
SB - Carl Crawford 2 (2, 2nd base off Burnett/Martin, 2nd base off Burnett/Martin), Mark Ellis (1, 2nd base off Burnett/Martin)
Team LOB - 10
Los Angeles Dodgers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Clayton Kershaw (W,2-0) 7200190 0.00
Paco Rodriguez (H,2) 0.1000010 0.00
Kenley Jansen (H,2) 0.2000010 0.00
Brandon League (S,2) 1000100 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Kershaw 97-59, Paco Rodriguez 5-4, Kenley Jansen 10-7, Brandon League 15-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Kershaw 7-4, Brandon League 2-1
Batters Faced - Clayton Kershaw 23, Paco Rodriguez 1, Kenley Jansen 2, Brandon League 4
Game Information
Attendance - 39446
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Gerry Davis, First Base - Dan Iassogna, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Mark Carlson