ANAHEIM (AP) — Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 to become the majors’ first 12-game winner, Joc Pederson hit a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers salvaged a split of the Freeway Series with a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.
Kershaw (12-2) yielded three hits and one unearned run over seven dominant innings, posting his fifth double-digit strikeout total of the season. He got ample support from the homer-happy NL leaders, who have won 18 of 21.
After Yasiel Puig and Chase Utley homered in the fifth inning, Pederson’s sixth-inning shot off J.C. Ramirez (7-6) gave the Dodgers 50 homers in June, breaking the 135-year-old franchise’s record for homers in a calendar month, set in 1953.
Kole Calhoun had a late RBI single for the Angels.
The local derby got some added spice when both benches and bullpens emptied in the eighth after Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow hit Yunel Escobar with a fastball in the shoulder.
No fights broke out, but Escobar was furious with his former Toronto Blue Jays teammate even though the pitch strongly appeared to be unintentional, and it loaded the bases for the Angels.
Morrow then struck out Luis Valbuena, and the reliever made a conciliatory gesture at Escobar on first base while he left the mound.
Kenley Jansen then retired Martin Maldonado on a long fly to center, and the Dodgers closer also pitched the ninth for his 18th save.
After splitting four games with the Angels, the Dodgers (53-28) have taken a 2 1/2-game lead in the NL West over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who visit Dodger Stadium next week.
In his 11th consecutive unbeaten start and his second straight without allowing an earned run, Kershaw struck out the side in the first inning on 12 pitches.
He did it again in the fifth inning on 10 pitches, part of five consecutive strikeouts overall. The Angels’ only extra-base hit was a sixth-inning double by Albert Pujols, a career .375 hitter (12 for 32) against Kershaw.
Ramirez yielded seven hits and five earned runs before leaving in the sixth when he was hit by Puig’s line drive.
The Dodgers went ahead in the fifth when Puig cracked his 15th homer into the short left-field stands and Utley followed with his fifth of the season to right.
Pederson has eight homers this season, including six in his last 14 games.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager went 0 for 4 and left in the seventh inning of his return from a five-game absence with a right hamstring injury.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu has no broken bones in his left foot after getting hit with a line drive during his start Wednesday, but he says it still feels sore. Manager Dave Roberts is hopeful Ryu won’t need a stint on the DL.
Angels: Closer Bud Norris threw a rehab inning in the minors. He could be activated this weekend after missing a week with knee inflammation.
Dodgers: Alex Wood (8-0, 1.86 ERA) looks to continue his spectacular start to the season when the Dodgers travel south to open a weekend series against the San Diego Padres.
Angels: Parker Bridwell (2-0, 2.95 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season when Los Angeles opens a three-game series at Angel Stadium against the Seattle Mariners.
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