Clayton Kershaw allowed one hit and struck out 11 in eight innings against his October nemesis, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 Saturday night with a big swing from Yasiel Puig in his return from the disabled list.
Puig snapped a scoreless tie in the seventh with an RBI double after missing the previous 39 games because of a strained left hamstring.
Kershaw (5-3) outpitched Jaime Garcia and lowered his ERA to 3.36. The left-hander led the majors in that category each of the past four seasons.
Kershaw lost to St. Louis in the finale of the 2013 NL Championship Series and the final game of the 2014 Division Series, making him 0-4 with a 7.15 ERA in his last four playoff starts against the Cardinals.
During the regular season, he is 6-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 15 starts against them.
The reigning NL MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner set down Mark Reynolds, Yadier Molina, Pete Kozma and Peter Bourjos on called third strikes in a span of five batters during the second and third.
Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save in as many chances. It was his first appearance since sitting out Wednesday's game at Colorado because of high blood pressure caused by the altitude in Denver.
Kershaw threw 75 of 106 pitches for strikes, but one of his fastballs hit Matt Carpenter on the right triceps in the first inning. The Cardinals' third baseman played three innings in the field and struck out in the fourth before coming out of the game. In Game 1 of last year's Division Series, Carpenter homered and hit a three-run double against Kershaw.
Garcia (1-3) allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings, struck out six and walked none in his fourth start of the season after missing the first 40 games while recovering from thoracic outlet surgery. The Cardinals have been shut out in three of his outings.
Garcia gave up three singles through the first six innings, and two of those runners were erased on double-play grounders by Chris Heisey and Jimmy Rollins, who has two RBIs in his last 74 at-bats. But Heisey led off the seventh with a double and scored on Puig's opposite-field hit to the fence in right-center. Justin Turner drove in Puig with a single that deflected off Kozma's glove at second base and into short center field.
Cardinals pitchers have allowed 10 runs in their last seven games, including 7-1 and 2-1 victories in the first two games of this four-game series. Puig was 1 for 3 with two strikeouts. He made two rehab appearances with Class A Rancho Cucamonga on May 7-8 before reinjuring his hamstring, then resumed his assignment with the Quakes on Thursday and was 3 for 7 with a double and a home run in two games.
CATCHING UP WITH KERSHAW
A.J. Ellis started behind the plate for the 18th time this season and ninth with Kershaw on the mound. Kershaw is 2-3 with a 3.43 ERA when Ellis is the starting catcher, and 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts with Yasmani Grandal as his batterymate.
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn (4-4) is 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA in his last five starts. He has yet to allow a home run in 26 career innings against the Dodgers, going 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA and 32 strikeouts in five starts.
Dodgers: RHP Zack Greinke (5-1) will try to bounce back from an ugly start at Colorado last Tuesday in which he gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings and ended up with a no-decision. Prior to that, he yielded fewer than two runs in five consecutive outings, but was just 1-1 during that stretch.
Link to box score: Dodgers (32-24) 2, St. Louis (37-19) 0