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Dodgers put a lot of things together to beat the Mets, 6-0

Clayton Kershaw gives up only five hits over eight innings in a 6-0 victory that features four extra-base hits in a five-run sixth inning.

July 07, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez

If only for a night, the Dodgers looked like the team they said they could be.

Clayton Kershaw was nearly unhittable. Everyone from Matt Kemp to Dioner Navarro was hitting in a five-run sixth inning that broke open the game. Dodger Stadium was sold out, courtesy of heavily discounted tickets and the promise of an Andre Ethier bobblehead doll.

The atmosphere at the ballpark on Thursday was something from the past.

When Kemp made a backhanded sliding catch in the eighth inning of the Dodgers' 6-0 victory, the announced crowd of 56,000 fans broke into a chant of "M-V-P!" When Manager Don Mattingly visited Kershaw later in the inning with two outs and the bases loaded, the same fans erupted. And Kershaw struck out Ronnie Paulino to get out of the inning, they stood and roared.

"When we play the way we're supposed to play, this is the type of game we should have," Kershaw said.

The victory ended a five-game losing streak and moved the last-place Dodgers to within two games of the fourth-place San Diego Padres in the National League West. They improved to 13 games under .500.

At last, the team that had been subjected to constant degradation decided that enough was enough.

The sentiment prompted veteran infielder Jamey Carroll to call a players-only meeting in the clubhouse before the game.

"It was something that was building for everybody," Tony Gwynn Jr. said.

Players took turns speaking.

"We all had a little bit to say," Kemp said.

They talked about refusing to accept losing. They talked about what they expected from each other. They talked about doing what they could, no more, no less.

"We're all on the same page," Kershaw said.

Of course, Kershaw's presence on the mound made that easier.

In his final start before taking part in his first All-Star game, the 23-year-old Kershaw looked as if he was auditioning for a Cy Young Award. Kershaw (9-4) held the Mets scoreless over eight innings, limiting them to five hits and two walks in the process. He struck out nine, improving his major-league leading strikeout total to 147.

When Kershaw loaded the bases and was visited by Mattingly in the eighth inning, he told his manager he could get the next batter out. Mattingly reminded Kershaw he made similar declarations in two previous games and allowed the opposition to score both times.

"I'm due," Kershaw said he told Mattingly.

He was right; Ronny Paulino struck out to end the inning.

The Dodgers' offense received a lift from the visitors and the home plate umpire. A throwing error on an attempted force play by Mets starter Dillon Gee put men on the corners with one out in the second inning. Juan Uribe tagged up from third base on a fly ball to left field by Aaron Miles and appeared to be thrown out, but umpire Greg Gibson thought otherwise. The Dodgers were up, 1-0.

The Dodgers took control of the game in a sixth inning that included four extra-base hits.

Kemp doubled in two runs and scored on a ground-rule double by Uribe, who, in turn, was driven in on a double by Aaron Miles. A triple by Navarro scored Miles for the final run.

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