The Los Angeles clubhouse was loose before Saturday’s game. Players joked and discussed the previous night’s no-hitter against them.
Neither manager Don Mattingly or the Dodgers hitters appeared troubled. Then they went out and proved it.
Jerry Hairston Jr. had a career-best five RBIs and Clayton Kershaw struck out a season-high 12, leading the Dodgers over the Seattle Mariners 8-3.
”It’s just a bounceback,” Mattingly said. ”It tells you guys kind of recovered from last night. Didn’t really set us off into any tailspin, obviously.”
Hairston had three of the Dodgers’ 14 hits, putting Los Angeles ahead with a three-run homer in the first against Jason Vargas (7-5). He added RBI doubles in the third off Vargas and in the eighth against Shawn Kelley.
After missing 16 games with a left hamstring strain, Hairston is hitting .426 with five doubles and 11 RBIs since he was activated from the disabled list May 25.
”I’ve been feeling pretty good for a while,” Hairston said. ”The biggest thing is I just want to make sure I have good at bats. ”
Kershaw (5-3), the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings and struck out the side in the first. His main error came on a fourth-inning slider to Miguel Olivo that stayed flat. Oliver hit his fifth home run of the season, a three-run drive.
In Kershaw’s previous outing, he gave up a two-run homer to Philadelphia’s Placido Polanco.
”I wish my mistakes didn’t go over the fence right now and cost me three runs,” Kershaw said, not quite remembering correctly. ”I don’t care about giving up home runs, but they just can’t be three-run homers.”
Vargas gave up five runs and nine hits in six innings. A day earlier, six pitchers combined to no-hit Los Angeles.
After struggling through a 33-pitch first, Vargas fell behind 5-0 in the third when Hairston doubled in a run and scored on James Loney’s single. Vargas’ pitch count was up to 66 by the end of the inning.
”Hairston killed us today, for the most part,” Vargas said.
Kershaw recorded seven of his first nine outs with strikeouts. By the end of the fourth inning, Kershaw had struck out nine Mariners, matching his season-high.
When faced with Olivo again in the sixth, Kershaw fell behind 2-0 with a runner on first. Olivo couldn’t come through, however, fouling out near first.
”He was able to get another gear when he needed to,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Dee Gordon stole two bases, raising his season total to 16. He pulled off a double steal with Tony Gwynn Jr. in the ninth, allowing Gwynn Jr. to score on a fielder’s choice. Juan Rivera followed with a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen is determining what to do with the ball from the final out of Friday night’s combined no-hitter. Wilhelmsen said he has it in a ”safe place” and isn’t sure how to divide it among the six pitchers who no-hit the Dodgers. … Wedge said Felix Hernandez is on schedule to start Tuesday against the Padres. Hernandez has been experiencing back pain, which caused him to take extra time between starts.