Clayton Kershaw went into his first start since coming off the disabled list with a “baseline” set by Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts at five innings or 75 pitches. Kershaw was dominant in his return and Chase Utley’s RBI single was enough for a 1-0 win over the San Diego Padres to snap a season-high five-game losing streak.
Kershaw fired six shutout innings, collecting seven strikeouts without issuing a walk and throwing an efficient 70 pitches (53 strikes). He induced soft contact throughout the outing and allowed just two hits.
Each was an infield single, with Manuel Margot hitting a weak chopper to lead off the first inning, and Yangervis Solarte reaching on a backhanded diving stop by Chris Taylor on the edge of the outfield grass to open the fifth.
Kershaw retired 12 batters in a row between the two infield singles, including striking out the side in the fourth. He didn’t allow a flyball out until Margot fouled out down the first-base line for the second out in the sixth.
That was followed by Kershaw then going to his first three-ball count on the night, which was much ado about nothing as the at-bat ended in a groundout.
For as dominant as Kershaw was, Padres rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet matched his effort through five innings. Lamet walked a pair in the second inning but didn’t allow a hit until Taylor’s one-out single in the third.
Justin Turner led off the fourth with a base hit, but Lamet proceeded to strike out Cody Bellinger, Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig to end another scoreless inning. He issued a walk, allowed a single to Kershaw, but otherwise struck out the side in the fifth.
The Dodgers finally got to Lamet in the sixth, sparked by back-to-back singles from Turner and Bellinger to put two on with nobody out. Grandal struck out for a second time on the night and Puig fouled out before Chase Utley delivered an RBI single to break up a scoreless tie.
Brandon Morrow, Tony Watson and Kenley Jansen combined for six strikeouts over three perfect innings. Dodgers outfielders went the entire game without touching a ball in play.
Alex Verdugo, who was among the Dodgers’ call-ups on Friday, started in center field and hit eighth. He went 0-for-3 with a walk in his MLB debut. Andre Ethier pinch-hit for Kershaw to lead off the seventh, and grounded out in his first appearance of 2017.
Turner finished the night 3-for-4 with a double, producing his first multi-hit game since Aug. 21, and his first three-hit effort since June 30.