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Clayton Kershaw pitches in for Dodgers in many ways

Left-hander strikes 11 batters and throws his second complete game in a row to beat the Angels, 3-2, makes a stellar defensive play and picks up a hit.

June 26, 2011|By Ben Bolch
  • Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had his second consecutive complete game with double-digit strikeouts in Sunday's 3-2 victory over the Angels.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw had his second consecutive complete game with… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Pitching a complete game was only part of Clayton Kershaw's arsenal Sunday.

The left-hander also sparked a late rally and made the defensive play of the Dodgers' 3-2 victory over the Angels at Dodger Stadium.

"All aspects of the game are important to him," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said. "You can't ask for much more from a kid."

With a runner on second base and nobody out in the sixth inning, Kershaw made a lunging catch of Jered Weaver's popped-up bunt and whirled to make a throw that doubled Jeff Mathis off second base.

Kershaw scored the tying run an inning later when he hit a two-out single and went home on Tony Gwynn Jr.'s triple off the heel of right fielder Vernon Wells' glove. Kershaw's hit extended his hitting streak to four games.

"Keep it going," Kershaw said.

Kershaw (8-3) gave up six hits and two runs on the way to his second consecutive complete game. He had 11 strikeouts and no walks, overtaking Philadelphia's Roy Halladay for the National League strikeout lead with 128.

Top to bottom

Mattingly said slumping shortstop Dee Gordon, who has hit in the leadoff spot exclusively, would be dropped to No. 9 in the batting order during a stretch of six consecutive road interleague games that begins Monday against the Minnesota Twins.

Since the designated hitter rule will be in effect, moving Gordon to the bottom of the lineup could take some pressure off him while essentially giving the Dodgers consecutive leadoff hitters ahead of heart-of-the-order threats Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp. Gordon said he was fine with the move.

Mattingly said Gordon could remain in the No. 9 spot in NL games started by Kershaw or Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers' two best-hitting pitchers.

"It allows [Gordon] to run and gives you another leadoff guy," Mattingly said.

Keep it down

Mattingly said he intended to speak with Kemp about the center fielder's fifth-inning ejection Saturday for yelling from the dugout at plate umpire Chris Conroy about his strike zone.

"I know he feels frustrated," Mattingly said, "but he's got to keep himself in the game."

Did Mattingly consider trying to keep Kemp quiet during Kemp's rant?

"I would have if I thought he was getting out of hand," Mattingly said. "I just thought he was kind of venting a little bit."

Giving it a shot

Casey Blake was 0 for 4 on Sunday in his return to third base after being limited to pinch-hitting duties the previous five games because of a neck injury.

Mattingly said before the game there was some risk of Blake irritating his neck, but said Blake was comfortable there was no chance that playing could cause serious damage.

Short hops

Reliever Jonathan Broxton experienced stiffness in his right elbow while playing catch Saturday, a setback that is expected to delay his return from the disabled list. He will be re-evaluated Monday. … Mattingly said outfielder Marcus Thames had recovered sufficiently from his strained left calf to play designated hitter this week. … Rafael Furcal, on the disabled list because of a strained side muscle, went two for three with a walk and scored three runs as the designated hitter in the first game of his rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.

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