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Dodgers' Kershaw fans 12 in eight strong innings in win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw made a nifty return to form.

Kershaw retired 18 consecutive batters and struck out 12 in eight dominant innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers, boosted by Carl Crawford's two home runs, beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 Sunday.

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The 2011 NL Cy Young winner began the season with a shutout over San Francisco, and soon extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings.

Kershaw (3-2) failed to get through the sixth inning in each of his last two starts.

"It was good to see Kershaw back to his old self," Crawford said. "He struggled his last two outings, so to get him back on track is a plus for us."

Kershaw left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed in after the game to tend to a personal matter.

"He's a great pitcher," said Ramon Hernandez, joined the Dodgers this season and hadn't caught the All-Star in a game. "Kershaw locates every pitch. He has an idea what he wants to do. He's very smart. He always has a plan what he wants to do with every hitter he's facing."

Kershaw scattered four hits and didn't walk a batter while lowering his ERA to 1.73. The left-hander, who led the NL in ERA in each of the previous two seasons, hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last 18 starts -- the longest active streak in the majors. The last time he did was July 24, 2012, when he gave up eight at St. Louis.

"We ran into some good pitching," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said, shaking his head. "This guy today, I wouldn't want any part of him. When he's on, you're going to struggle to score. When he's commanding the fastball inside, you're in big trouble because there's not much you can do with the pitch. And he knows when to throw the offspeed stuff away, so you can't cover all of the plate."

Kershaw stranded runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings, retiring Jonathan Lucroy on a double-play grounder in the first and striking out Martin Maldonado to end the second.

Kershaw gave up a leadoff double in the eighth to Carlos Gomez. The speedy runner tried to advance on Maldonado's broken-bat comebacker to Kershaw and was tagged out by third baseman Juan Uribe in a rundown.

"That was an unbelievable play he made," Uribe said. "This guy, he can pitch, he can hit and he can make a good play, too. He's a player. He's unbelievable. You want to make plays for pitchers like that. Guys like that hustle the game along and they want to win the game. I'm happy for him that he won today."

Brandon League pitched a perfect ninth inning for his eighth save in nine chances.

Crawford homered on the first pitch of the game from Kyle Lohse (1-2). It was the fourth time Lohse had given up a home run to his first batter in 336 career starts, and the first one that came on his very first pitch.

"The past week, guys have been getting ahead of me with the first pitch right down the middle. So I just picked today to be aggressive with the first pitch," Crawford said. "This is a tough ballpark to hit home runs in, but they say the ball flies better here in the daytime. So I caught a break today."

Crawford's second homer came on an 0-2 count in the fifth inning and landed in the right field pavilion. It was his sixth multihomer game in the majors and first since July 8, 2010, for Tampa Bay.

"They've pretty much given me the freedom to be myself and not try to be the traditional leadoff hitter who just takes a bunch of pitches and try to slap the ball," Crawford said. "I like to try to put a good swing on the ball and not just hit the ball to the shortstop and run. I mean, there's times for that, but for the most part, I'm trying to hit the ball in the gap somewhere."

Notes

  • Lohse reached the 2,000-inning mark for his 13-year career when he retired Kershaw on a grounder to end the second.
  • Dodgers LHP Ted Lilly makes his second start on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series with Colorado. He is 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in four career starts against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium.
  • Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo will pitch the opener of a three-game set against Pittsburgh on Monday at Miller Park. He is 6-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his last seven starts overall against the Pirates.
 
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 throws eight scoreless innings, retiring 18 straight at one point, with 12 K's in the Dodgers' win. (Getty Images)
Clayton Kershaw throws eight scoreless innings, retiring 18 straight at one point, with 12 K's in the Dodgers' win. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

C. Crawford
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 2
Los Angeles

C. Kershaw
IP 8.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 0
K 12
 
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF4000020 .253
Jean Segura, SS4010010 .349
Ryan Braun, LF4010010 .257
Jonathan Lucroy, C3000001 .233
Rickie Weeks, 2B3010010 .172
Carlos Gomez, CF3010001 .338
Yuniesky Betancourt, 3B3000022 .274
Martin Maldonado, 1B3000021 .184
Kyle Lohse, P2000020 .083
   a- Khris Davis, PH1000011 .200
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
Totals30040012  
a-struck out for Lohse in the 8th
Batting
2B - Rickie Weeks (5, Kershaw), Carlos Gomez (5, Kershaw)
Team LOB - 3
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kyle Lohse (L,1-2) 7522042 2.53
Mike Gonzalez 1100010 4.32
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 95-69, Mike Gonzalez 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 6-11
Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 26, Mike Gonzalez 4
Los Angeles Dodgers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Carl Crawford, LF4222010 .307
Nick Punto, 2B4030010 .400
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B4000003 .337
Matt Kemp, CF3000002 .261
Andre Ethier, RF3000001 .229
Ramon Hernandez, C3000010 .056
Juan Uribe, 3B3010010 .214
Justin Sellers, SS3000011 .213
Clayton Kershaw, P2000001 .154
   a- Jerry Hairston Jr., PH1000000 .167
    Brandon League, P0000000 .000
Totals3026205  
a-fouled out for Kershaw in the 8th
Batting
HR - Carl Crawford 2 (4, Lohse, Lohse)
RBI - Carl Crawford 2 (6)
2-OUT RBI - Carl Crawford (3)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Punto-Sellers-Gonzalez
Los Angeles Dodgers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Clayton Kershaw (W,3-2) 84000120 1.73
Brandon League (S,8) 1000000 4.09
Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Kershaw 117-78, Brandon League 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Kershaw 5-6, Brandon League 2-1
Batters Faced - Clayton Kershaw 27, Brandon League 3
Game Information
Attendance - 49003
Game Time - 2:21
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - John Tumpane, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Angel Hernandez, Third Base - Doug Eddings