DENVER (AP) — Don Mattingly made a rather bold prediction after Clayton Kershaw’s latest masterful performance: His ace will give up another run at some point this season.
“I know I’m going out on a limb,” the Los Angeles Dodgers manager joked.
Lately, Kershaw has looked that untouchable.
The hard-throwing lefty nearly had no-hit stuff against Colorado again, allowing only two singles over eight innings as the Dodgers beat the Rockies 9-0 on Friday night.
What’s more, Kershaw (10-2) extended his scoreless streak to 36 innings before being replaced by a pinch hitter in the ninth. Kershaw bottled up the top-hitting team in the majors in nearly matching the no-hitter he threw against the Rockies on June 18 at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw struck out eight and walked one.
“You don’t ever want to give up a run,” Kershaw casually said. “I guess that’s the goal.”
The nastiness of Kershaw’s slider – the best pitch in baseball, Drew Stubbs labeled it – is fueling his roll.
“Anytime he takes the mound, he’s capable of the run he’s been on,” catcher A.J. Ellis said.
Yasiel Puig hit a two-run shot – his first homer since May 28 – and Scott Van Slyke added a three-run homer as the Dodgers had a season-high 19 hits.
Jair Jurrjens (0-1) struggled in his first big-league start in a year, lasting 4 2-3 innings and giving up eight runs.
After the game, Jurrjens was taken to a nearby hospital for tests after developing breathing issues. Though the problems dissipated, the Rockies had him taken to the hospital.
Kershaw was coming off quite a June in which he went 6-0 with a 0.82 ERA. He carried it over to July as he allowed only DJ LeMahieu’s single in the third and Nolan Arenado’s base hit in the seventh.
The 26-year-old Kershaw hasn’t allowed a run since the third inning against Arizona on June 13. His scoreless innings streak is the third-longest in Los Angeles history, according to information from the Elias Sports Bureau provided by the Dodgers. The team – and major league – record is 59 straight by Orel Hershiser in 1988.
Of those 36 scoreless innings Kershaw has turned in, 17 have now been at Colorado’s expense. The Rockies didn’t have Troy Tulowitzki (tight groin) in the lineup Friday night.
“He’s on a pretty good roll, approaching historic measures,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “He’s locked in right now and we saw it today.”
Kershaw also did some damage with his bat as he laced an RBI single to left as part of a five-run fifth to break the game open. It was Kershaw’s first RBI of the season.
Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was hit on the left arm by Jurrjens in the fifth and was replaced when the team took the field. Mattingly indicated Ramirez could possibly be in the lineup Saturday.
Colorado finally solved Kershaw in the third when LeMahieu lined a base hit to right. Jurrjens followed with a bunt that Kershaw wildly threw to first for an error, putting runners on first and third with one out.
But Kershaw picked off Jurrjens and then struck out Charlie Blackmon to keep his scoreless innings streak intact.
“During this run, he’s had an `A’ curveball and an `A’ slider this entire time,” Ellis said. “They’re both electric strikeout pitches.”
The Dodgers hit for the cycle in the first to jump out to a 3-0 lead. Dee Gordon began with a bunt single and Puig followed with a two-run homer. Ramirez added a double and scored on Andre Ethier’s two-out triple.
A rocky start to Jurrjens’ Rockies career.
The Rockies acquired Jurrjens in a trade with Cincinnati two days ago to bolster a rotation ravaged by injuries. He became the 13th different starter Colorado has used this season.
Jurrjens last pitched in the big leagues on June 29, 2013, when he was with Baltimore. He was replacing Jhoulys Chacin, who’s on the 60-day disabled list with an inflamed right shoulder.
NOTES: Every Dodgers starter had a hit Friday night. Gordon, Ellis and Ethier each had three. … Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez (left index finger) hit in the cage Friday. … Decorated Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen posted on her Twitter account a picture from the Rockies game and a message saying: “Thank you to the rockies for my first outing! You guys have been amazing to us!” Van Dyken-Rouen is rehabbing at nearby Craig Hospital after an accident on an all-terrain vehicle left her paralyzed.