Kershaw’s day takes away some of the pain

The Dodgers were swept in the three-game series at Oakland, but the silver lining to their dark cloud Thursday was a magnificent start from Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw rebounded from allowing five runs in six innings on June 15 against the White Sox by pitching eight strong innings in Oakland. Kershaw allowed one run and three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. But the left-hander was stuck with a no-decision as the Dodgers lost on a walk-off home run by Yoenis Cespedes in the ninth inning.

“Kershaw was great,” said manager Don Mattingly. “It seemed like he was as good as he was all year.”

Kershaw had a 4.68 ERA in his previous five starts before Thursday’s gem and stands at 5-3 on the season with a 2.73 ERA. On June 21, 2011, Kershaw was 7-3 with a 3.01 ERA, and he won 14 of his final 16 decisions en route to winning the National League Cy Young Award.

The next start for Kershaw will be Tuesday in San Francisco against the second-place Giants.

NOTES, QUOTES
Lefties causing problems for Ethier
   –RF Andre Ethier went 0-for-3 against LHP Travis Blackley on Thursday in Oakland and has struggled of late against left-handed pitchers. Ethier is 0 for his last 12 against lefties with six strikeouts and is 2-for-29 with 14 strikeouts against lefties since June 2.
   –1B James Loney was scheduled to be the designated hitter for the Dodgers in their series finale in Oakland on Thursday but was scratched from the lineup because he had the flu. Loney has started just 11 of 19 games in June and is hitting .283 with a .326 slugging percentage this month.
   –LHP Clayton Kershaw picked off Coco Crisp in the first inning on Thursday, his major league-leading fifth pickoff of the season. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, Kershaw is tied with James Shields for the most pickoffs in baseball, with 14.
   –RHP Josh Lindblom allowed a three-run walk-off home run to OF Yoenis Cespedes on Thursday in Oakland. Lindblom has been bitten by the long ball this season — he has allowed seven home runs in 34 innings while the rest of the Dodgers bullpen has allowed 10 home runs in 157 1/3 innings.
   –INF Ivan De Jesus started at designated hitter, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his first start since June 1. It was just the fifth start of the year for De Jesus, who has been used as a pinch-hitter a team-high 15 times since getting recalled from Triple A on May 19.
   BY THE NUMBERS: 8 — Hits by the Dodgers in three games in Oakland. They scored only two runs in the sweep by the A’s.
   QUOTE TO NOTE: “Rickey’s a smart dude. Sometimes the words don’t come out quite right, but Rickey’s a good dude.” — Manager Don Mattingly, on former teammate and current A’s coach Rickey Henderson.