Clayton Kershaw has regularly praised the offense this season for picking him up, but the two leaned on one another for much of Tuesday night as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants, 9-0.
The Dodgers needed all of three batters to match their entire run output from Monday. Joc Pederson lifted the second pitch he saw from Shaun Anderson to the opposite field for a home run that gave the Dodgers an early lead.
The homer was Pederson’s 19th this season and fourth of the leadoff variety. Pederson broke the Dodgers franchise record with eight leadoff home runs last season. The mark was previously held by Davey Lopes, who had seven in 1979. Overall, Pederson is now second in Dodgers history with 15 leadoff home runs in his career.
After Alex Verdugo singled, Justin Turner followed with an RBI double down the left-field line. Anderson allowed at least one runner to reach in each of his six innings but managed to keep the Dodgers to only three runs.
Chris Taylor was stranded after a leadoff walk in the second, nothing came of Cody Bellinger’s two-out double in the third, Matt Beaty was also left on base after leading off the fourth with a double, and Turner’s two-out walk in the fifth saw the same outcome.
The offense’s struggles to take advantage of their opportunities kept the pressure on Kershaw. He fought a high pitch count early before settling in during the middle innings. There wasn’t much drama on the fifth anniversary of his no-hitter.
Kershaw issued a one-out walk in the second inning and it was followed by an Evan Longoria base hit. Donovan Solano’s leadoff walk in the sixth nearly led to a run but Bellinger made a leaping catch at the wall in right field to rob Tyler Austin of an extra-base hit. Kershaw then picked off Solano to end the inning.
The Dodgers did make some headway in the bottom of the sixth behind a blend of patience and small ball. Max Muncy’s led off with a walk, then Beaty’s base hit put runners at the corners. Taylor’s perfectly placed bunt went for an RBI single.
Kershaw returned to the mound with the insurance run and completed seven scoreless innings. The quality start was his 11th in 12 outings but his first scoreless effort this season. Kershaw additionally went seven innings for a sixth time, including in three of his past four starts.
The Dodgers then broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh, beginning with David Freese beating out a potential inning-ending double play to score Bellinger from third base. Austin Barnes’ RBI single extended the lead and Kiké Hernandez’s grand slam all but sealed the win.