Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 in Thursday's win over the Los Angeles Angeles on Thursday. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Clayton Kershaw gave up just three hits over seven innings to earn his major-league-best 12th win, lifting the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.
The win allowed the Dodgers to split the four-game, home-and-home series with the Angels.
Kershaw (12-2) allowed just one run, which was unearned. He struck out 12, his second-highest total of the season, and walked two while making 93 pitches.
He got help from the offense, which smashed three home runs, including what was essentially a game-clinching three-run blast by Joc Pederson in the sixth inning.
Yasiel Puig and Chase Utley each hit solo shots, as all three homers came off Angels starter JC Ramirez. The home runs increased the Dodgers' total to 50 in June, the most in a calendar month in franchise history.
Ramirez was not only knocked around figuratively by the Dodgers' bats, he was literally knocked out of the game when a sixth-inning line drive by Puig struck him on the right hip. Ramirez (7-6) gave up all six Dodgers runs (five earned) on seven hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings.
The only run the Angels scored against Kershaw came after an error by left fielder Trayce Thompson led to an RBI fielder's choice by Albert Pujols in the fourth inning.
While Kershaw's influence seemed to keep the game relatively drama-free, things got interesting after he left. The Angels had already scored a run in the eighth and had runners on first and third with one out when Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow hit Yunel Escobar with a pitch.
Escobar pointed to his own dugout before having words with Morrow, which resulted in the benches and bullpens emptying. After a few minutes, things calmed down, and the Angels' rally was snuffed out.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen got the final out of the eighth inning before closing out the ninth for his 18th save.
Ramirez retired the first six Dodgers batters before Logan Forsythe led off the third with a single. Puig followed with a grounder to shortstop Cliff Pennington; but, instead of a double play, Pennington threw the ball over second baseman Danny Espinosa's head for an error, and the Dodgers had runners on second and third with nobody out.
Thompson walked to load the bases before Utley drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly. Ramirez, though, avoided additional damage.
The Angels got even in the fourth inning, aided by a Dodgers error. Cameron Maybin led off with a single to left; and, when Thompson booted the ball, Maybin took second.
Kole Calhoun moved Maybin to third with a grounder to second, bringing up Pujols, who quickly fell behind in the count 0-2. With the infield playing in, Pujols hit a grounder to shortstop Corey Seager, whose throw home was wide toward the first-base side, allowing Maybin to slide in safely.
The Dodgers regained the lead in the fifth inning on solo home runs by Puig and Utley, going ahead 3-1. Both homers came on 94 mph fastballs that were out over the plate.
NOTES: Dodgers SS Corey Seager returned to the starting lineup after missing five games with a sore right hamstring. He hurt the hamstring last Friday against the Rockies. Batting No. 2 in the order Thursday, Seager went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts before being replaced by INF Enrique Hernandez in the seventh inning. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Seager would not start Friday's game against San Diego, in an effort to ease him back into the lineup. ... Angels SS Andrelton Simmons did not play, getting a day off for rest. He had started 81 of the Angels' 82 games at shortstop before Thursday. Simmons is hitting .316 (56-for-177) over his past 45 games, and his eight home runs are the second most he has hit in a season. He had 17 for Atlanta in 2014. INF Cliff Pennington started at shortstop.