He left the scoreless game after seven innings, having allowed two hits, one walk and with 10 strikeouts. Kershaw struck out 10 of his first 18 batters, retiring 20 of 22 after a leadoff double. Atlanta's only other hit against the 21-year-old right-hander was a one-out single in the fourth and after his only walk, he picked the runner off to end the seventh.
Kershaw has received only two runs of support in his past three starts, and five runs of support in his past four. He is 6-1 with a 1.06 ERA in his last 10 starts beginning with a no-decision on June 16 -- the best ERA in the majors during that stretch.
"Kershaw took care of what he could control," manager Joe Torre said. "After his last outing, he became very determined -- not that he wasn't determined the last outing, but this kid has a lot of heart. And certainly, you know his ability. We haven't put wins back-to-back, and he's pitched in games that have been must-win situations."
In this game the Dodgers were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. individual left-on-base figures included Brad Ausmus (5), Matt Kemp, James Loney and Mark Loretta (3 each) and Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez (2 each). Only Tony Abreu, making his first start since 2007, did not leave a runner stranded.
The euphoria of the remarkable first half of the season is wearing thin and those who are not beginning to panic just don't understand the situation.
The Dodgers have lost three of their past four, five of their past eight and 10 of their past 16. The club's current 5 1/2-game lead (five in the all-important loss column) over the Giants is its smallest division lead since the start of play on May 15, when it led San Francisco by five games.
The scoring was limited to the 10th inning. Adam LaRoche (Andy's brother) walked and Kelly Johnson's two-out home run into the seats just inside the foul pole off Guillermo Mota broke the scoreless tie. It was the Braves third, and final, hit of the game.
In the bottom of the inning, Juan Pierre singled and scored on a two-out double by "Mr. Clutch," Andre Ethier. Ramirez was intentionally walked and Kemp ended the game when the Braves shortstop made a sparkling stop and throw to nip him at first base.
The Dodgers had a chance in the fifth when Orlando Hudson and Abreu singled. A collision between the Braves second baseman and right fielder on a foul pop near the stands prolonged gave Brad Ausmus a second chance but he struck out and Hudson was tagged out in a rundown when Ausmus struck out and Kershaw bounced out to second to end the inning.
Their best scoring chance came in the seventh when Kemp led off with a single, stole second and continued to third on a throwing error by former Dodgers catcher David Ross. One-out walks to Hudson and Abreu loaded the bases, but Ausmus and pinch-hitter Mark Loretta struck out.
Ronald Belisario, just re-activated, George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton held the Braves in check until Mota took over in the 10th.
Because of the Dodgers' 12-inning loss on Friday night and the Yankees' 15-inning win over Boston, Los Angeles had entered Saturday not having the best record in the majors for the first time since May 2, when the team was 16-8.
Rookie Scott Elbert was announced as the Dodgers starter today, but then the left-hander was used in relief in the second game of the series, took the loss, and was handed a ticket to Albuquerque.
Eric Stults was recalled and will make the start in the finale of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium. A corresponding roster move will be announced today.
Stults is 4-2 with a 4.80 ERA in nine starts with the Dodgers this season. His most recent outing with the club came May 30 in Chicago, when he lasted just three innings and gave up four runs on six hits in a loss to the Cubs. After that start, Stults was placed on the disabled list with a left thumb injury, and he remained on the DL until July 1, when he was activated and sent to the Minors.
He was 4-2, 4.25 with the Isotopes, having allowed 43 hits in 35 innings and with a strikeout-walk record of 30-15 over seven games, six of them starts.
The Braves will counter with RHP Javier Vazquez (9-7, 2.99 ERA) who has made nine quality starts over his past 12 outings and the Braves have won each of his past six starts. His 164 strikeouts rank second in the National League.
Score by Innings Atlanta 000 000 000-2 Los Angeles 000 000 000-1 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 3 0 0 0 .265 Ethier rf 5 0 1 1 .272 Ramirez lf 4 0 0 0 .302 Kemp cf 5 0 2 0 .318 Loney 1b 4 0 0 0 .282 Hudson 2b 3 0 1 0 .292 Abreu 3b 3 0 0 0 .314 Ausmus c 3 0 0 0 .314 Pierre ph 1 1 1 0 .315 Kershaw p 2 0 0 0 .314 Loretta ph 1 0 0 0 .237 Belisario p 0 0 0 0 .000 Sherrill p 0 0 0 0 .000 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Mota p 0 0 0 0 .500 Martin ph 1 0 0 0 .270 -------------------------------- Totals 35 1 6 1 Atlanta 32 2 3 2 2B- Ethier (26). RBI- Ethier (73). LOB- Los Angeles 9, Atlanta 5. SB- Kemp (23). CS- Hudson (1). Pickoffs- Kershaw. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Kershaw 7.0 2 0-0 1 10 2.73 Belisario 0.2 0 0-0 1 0 2.39 Sherrill 0.1 0 0-0 1 0 2.17 Broxton 1.0 0 0-0 0 1 2.84 Mota (3-3) 1.0 1 2-2 2 2 3.29 T- 3:31. Att- 53,338.?