LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw completed a spectacular June with 13 strikeouts during seven innings of five-hit ball, and Andre Ethier hit a three-run homer in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 6-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
Kershaw (9-2) extended his career-best scoreless streak to 28 innings in his first home start since throwing his first career no-hitter June 18 against Colorado. The left-hander went 6-0 with an 0.82 ERA in June, yielding four runs in 44 innings and striking out 61.
Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez had run-scoring hits for the Dodgers, who took three of four from St. Louis in a rematch of last season’s NL championship series.
With 12 wins in 16 games, Los Angeles (47-37) has pulled virtually even with the slumping Giants (46-36) atop the NL West.
The Dodgers were 9 1/2 games behind San Francisco on June 8, but erased the entire deficit in three weeks.
Ethier capped Los Angeles’ four-run fifth inning with a shot to right off Shelby Miller (7-7) for his first homer since May 27.
Matt Carpenter had three hits for the Cardinals, who were shut out twice in the four-game series.
But St. Louis had little chance on another dominant day for Kershaw, who hasn’t allowed a run since June 13. His 28-inning scoreless streak is the fifth-longest in franchise history, trailing only a who’s-who of Dodgers luminaries: Orel Hershiser, Don Drysdale, Don Sutton and Sandy Koufax.
Kershaw’s bid for back-to-back home no-hitters lasted exactly two pitches before Carpenter lined a single to left. Although he walked two and retired the side in order just once, Kershaw never allowed a runner to reach third base while getting at least one strikeout in each inning of work.
Miller gave up seven hits and six runs in five innings for St. Louis, which is among the few teams with a history of success against Kershaw. The two-time Cy Young winner entered the game just 4-5 with a 3.75 ERA against the Cardinals, including a dismal performance in a 9-0 loss last October in the NLCS.
Gonzalez got the Dodgers’ first hit in the fourth inning by bunting into the wide-open space near third base created by the Cardinals’ severe defensive shift. After Kemp drove in Yasiel Puig, Gonzalez scored on Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly.
Puig hustled for a two-out double in the fifth, and Gonzalez drove him in. After Kemp doubled, Ethier connected for just his fourth homer of the season, setting off a dance party in the Dodgers’ dugout when he returned.
Kershaw finished strong by striking pinch-hitter Jon Jay and Carpenter to end the seventh, earning a loud standing ovation from the Dodger Stadium crowd.
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