SAN FRANCISCO — By pitching a five-hit complete game in the Dodgers' 4-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, Clayton Kershaw extinguished memories of his previous start.
"I'm glad my last start isn't a bad one anymore so I don't have to think about it," Kershaw said.
Five days earlier, Kershaw took the mound in St. Louis and was charged with a season-high eight runs in 52/3 innings.
"You don't want to have the bad starts lingering," Kershaw said. "You just have to come back out strong."
Catcher A.J. Ellis figured he would, noting Kershaw's tendency to recover well from rough outings.
"That's what he does best," Ellis said. "I can't think of too many times he had two rough ones in a row."
That ability is a testament to Kershaw's willpower, according to Manager Don Mattingly.
"Guys that are really good, they're not going to let the bad one affect the next one," Mattingly said. "Guys that are really good are tough on themselves. They hold themselves accountable. They push themselves to be better."
Even when they don't feel they have their best stuff, as was the case with Kershaw on Sunday.
Ellis said that in the early innings, he asked Kershaw how he felt.
"I'm not feeling very good today," Ellis recalled Kershaw's telling him. "I don't feel very strong."
After Angel Pagan grounded out to end the game, Ellis again approached Kershaw.
"How are you feeling now, buddy?" Ellis asked him.
"I feel pretty good," Kershaw said.
The shutout was Kershaw's second of the season and fifth of his career.
Called up from triple A earlier this month to replace injured Dee Gordon as the Dodgers shortstop, Luis Cruz now has a 12-game hitting streak. The streak is the longest for any Dodger this season.
Cruz was two for four with a double, a run scored and two runs batted in Sunday.
After the All-Star break, Cruz worked with coaches Dave Hansen and Manny Mota on regaining his timing.
"I have a leg kick so I have to be on time every time and get my foot down and be in a hitting position," he said.
Still wide-eyed, the career minor leaguer said he is grateful for the way Mattingly and the players have treated him.
"I appreciate that Donnie's given me the chance to play every day," Cruz said. "All the guys have been nice to me. They've treated me like I've been here the whole season, and that's given me confidence."
On the mend
Sidelined starters Ted Lilly and Rubby De La Rosa began minor league rehabilitation assignments Sunday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Lilly, who has been out for more than two months with shoulder inflammation, pitched two scoreless innings. He held Lake Elsinore to a walk and a hit.
De La Rosa, who has been recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery and hasn't pitched this season, threw three scoreless innings. He was charged with two hits and a walk. He struck out three.