By the time the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres took the field Saturday night, the San Francisco Giants held a 3-0 lead over the San Francisco Giants. If the Dodgers hoped to clinch the National League West, they’d need the Padres to defeat the Giants.
But first things first, Los Angeles needed to take care of their own game. And with the mathematical possibility to wrap up another division title in front of the them, Los Angeles handed the ball to Clayton Kershaw.
The start was Kershaw’s fourth since coming off the 60-day disabled list. He missed more than three months while recovering from a mild disc herniation.
After an outing against the Miami Marlins that was filled with predictable rust, Kershaw rounded into form over his next three starts.
On Saturday, the three-time Cy Young Award winner very much looked the part of the pitcher the Dodgers saw prior to the back injury.
Kershaw fired seven shutout innings and was perfect through three innings. He allowed just three hits and finished with six strikeouts:
Seven. Shutout. Innings. pic.twitter.com/CqLCF8MWrp
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 25, 2016
Kershaw has now allowed just one unearned run in 18 innings over his past three starts. He said after the game he feels close to 100 percent but still needs to be more consistent.
The Dodgers’ 14-1 win put them on the brink of clinching a fourth straight division title for the first time in franchise history.
After concluding their final homestand of the regular season on Sunday, the Dodgers will play series on the road against the Padres and Giants. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said his ace will next start Friday or Saturday against the Giants at AT&T Park.