Kershaw, Dodgers shut out Marlins
Miami’s leadoff batter reached five times against Clayton Kershaw, and it still couldn’t score.
The Marlins grounded into three double plays, went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and lost their third game in a row to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-0 on Thursday.
It was a familiar story for the Marlins, who rank last in the majors in runs and hitting. They totaled six hits and missed several chances to take an early lead.
"You know going into this game that runs are going to be a premium for us, and we had that opportunity several times," manager Mike Redmond said. "It’s definitely an area we need to improve, driving in runs, especially early."
Kershaw (13-7) allowed five hits in eight innings while lowering his ERA to 1.72, best in the majors. By his standards, it was a subpar effort.
"I was terrible the first couple of innings. I didn’t have command," he said. "It could have gone a lot differently. The game could have been out of hand pretty quick."
Kershaw walked Christian Yelich to start the game, and the first two batters reached against him in the second inning.
"I’ve seen him a lot better," Redmond said. "He looked like his command was not there with his fastball, but whenever we did get in a situation with a guy on, he executed his pitches and was able to keep us at bay."
Former All-Star closer Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for Los Angeles in his first major league appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery. He allowed one hit while striking out two in his first game since April 2012.
"They’re bringing Brian Wilson out in a mop-up role," Redmond said. "That’s pretty good."
Wilson completed the Dodgers’ 17th shutout, most in the majors. Miami was shut out for the 15th time.
The Dodgers (75-52) climbed 23 games above .500 for the first time since 2009. They went 5-2 on their two-city trip and have won 22 of their past 25 road games.
"We’ve got the perfect mix right now — great starting pitching, timely hitting and a lockdown bullpen," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. "It creates a lot of wins."
They improved to 28-5 since the All-Star break and begin a series at home Friday against AL East leader Boston.
Los Angeles’ Yasiel Puig hit a double that struck the center-field wall above the 418-foot sign, scored a run and had a sacrifice fly. But he finished only 2 for 15 in the series, dropping his average to .346.
Puig was hit by a pitch in the upper left arm in the ninth but stayed in the game. He became dehydrated during Wednesday’s game, limped at times and received intravenous fluids afterward.
Kershaw broke a scoreless tie when he hit a two-out single in the fourth to drive in the first of the Dodgers’ three runs in the inning. He’s tied for the major league lead among pitchers with eight RBIs.
That was the only run Los Angeles needed, thanks to his pitching. He struck out six, including rookie Yelich three times.
"He’s one of the best pitchers in the game for a reason," Yelich said. "I found out that today pretty quick."
Henderson Alvarez (2-3) went five innings and allowed five runs, all of them scoring with two outs.
"He was OK," Redmond said. "I woudn’t say that was one of his best starts."
NOTES: Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton had a double to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He’s batting .316 with 13 homers at home. On the road he’s batting .184 with three homers. … Hanley Ramirez was given the day off, and Nick Punto made his 25th start at SS for the Dodgers. Said Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly of the 5-foot-9 Punto still playing the position at age 35: "Chihuahuas live longer than big dogs." … Dodgers RHP Ricky Nolasco, scheduled to pitch Friday, is 1-2 with an 8.16 ERA in three starts against Boston.