Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22). Photo by Rich Kane/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw put his foot down.
The ace left-hander put an end to the Los Angeles Dodgers' six-game losing streak almost single-handedly Sunday, throwing a complete-game shutout against the San Diego Padres and driving in the only run in a 1-0 victory.
Kershaw struck out 14 and allowed just three hits in his 13th career shutout. His dominant performance in a pitchers' duel with Padres left-hander Drew Pomeranz prevented the Dodgers from losing seven in a row at home for the first time since August 1993. They still have never gone winless on a homestand of five games or longer.
"He was good. Not much else to say. He was really good," Padres manager Andy Green said of Kershaw. "He stuck them on his back today, drove in their only run, stuck them on his back and carried them. That's what guys like him do."
Pomeranz did his best to change that.
He held the slumping Dodgers to just three hits in his seven innings. Unfortunately for him, two of those hits came back to back in the third inning and produced the only run of the day.
With one out, A.J. Ellis hit a drive off the base of the center-field wall for a double. Kershaw followed with a single to center to drive in Ellis.
"He was outstanding from the beginning of the game to the end," Green said of Pomeranz. "He threw the ball well, came very close to matching Kershaw pitch for pitch.
"He left a cutter up to A.J. Ellis and left a curveball up to Clayton Kershaw. A couple bottom-of-the-order guys there, but you don't want to harp on a guy's mistakes. We've got to do a better job offensively of picking him up."
The Dodgers have not been doing a very good job offensively themselves. The game-winner Sunday was Kershaw's second RBI on a seven-game homestand that saw the Dodgers score a total of 12 runs while going 1-6. No Dodger had more than two RBIs on the homestand.
"I never try to do too much. I just try to do something," Kershaw said of his approach to hitting. "I was just trying to make contact -- especially against him. I think that might have been the one curveball he left up today."
Kershaw made sure that was enough by overpowering the Padres hitters.
The Padres managed just one hit in seven innings against Kershaw on Opening Day in San Diego and didn't fare much better Sunday in L.A.
Kershaw struck out the first four Padres he faced and retired the first 14 in order before Alexei Ramirez shot a ball down the first-base line and into right field for a base hit. Ramirez tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out by Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig.
The Padres fared only slightly better in the seventh inning. With the Dodgers shifted to the left side, Wil Myers bounced a single to the right of second base and into center field. Matt Kemp followed with a single flared to right field and Myers went to third base.
But Kershaw struck out Melvin Upton Jr. and got Derek Norris to fly out, stranding both runners.
"I think we all felt pretty good walking off the field that inning that we'd dodged the one bullet they were going to be able to throw at us with as dominant as Clayton was today," Ellis said.
Kershaw actually found another gear after the Padres' lone threat. He retired the final eight in order, five by strikeout. His 14 strikeouts were one shy of his career high.
"He was ready to atone for his last start -- and that last start was one bad inning, a couple pitches," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Kershaw's loss to the Miami Marlins on Tuesday during which he gave up five runs in the sixth inning. "From that day on, I wouldn't want to be his opponent because he had that look in his eyes, especially accentuated by our losing streak.
"He wasn't going to be denied."
NOTES: The Padres' Sunday starter, Drew Pomeranz, is the first of three consecutive left-handed starters the Dodgers will face. Lefties Matt Moore and Drew Smyly are scheduled to start for the Tampa Bay Rays in their two-game interleague series against the Dodgers Tuesday and Wednesday. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has changed his lineups significantly against righties and lefties. The outfielders, in particular, have been platooned. But he said left-handed-hitting Joc Pederson will start against Moore Tuesday, not right-handed Trayce Thompson, who started Sunday against Pomeranz. ... Dodgers OF Scott Van Slyke (back) is at least another week away from starting any baseball activities and might be sidelined until June. ... The Padres are in the midst of a 24-day stretch in California running through May 8. A nine-day, 10-game homestand was followed by this road trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles. They start a week-long homestand against the Colorado Rockies and New York Mets Monday. ... Padres LHP Robbie Erlin has not pitched since April 17 due to an elbow strain. Padres manager Andy Green said Erlin stopped his throwing program this week and is still not able to throw "free and easy." Erlin will likely have his elbow re-examined this week.