Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) works against the Milwaukee… (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)
Clayton Kershaw was back as the kind of dominant pitcher no opposing team wants to be within several continents of, which, as it turned out for the Dodgers, was a much-needed thing.
Kershaw was nothing shy of masterful in holding the Brewers scoreless in his eight innings, as the Dodgers went on to a 2-0 victory Sunday afternoon before an announced Dodger Stadium crowd of 49,003.
Kershaw struck out a season-high 12, did not walk a batter, allowed only four hits, and at one point retired 18 consecutive batters.
Only one Dodger provided any real offensive support, but it was of the very handy variety.
Carl Crawford hit a pair of solo home runs off Kyle Lohse, the only runs the right-hander allowed.
The Dodgers struck quickly against the Brewers, as in as quickly as possible. Crawford hammered the first pitch Lohse threw onto the black tarp beyond the wall in left-center.
Crawford enjoyed the experience so much, he did it again in the fifth. This time he jumped on an 0-2 Lohse pitch and sent it over the right-field wall.
There was no figuring it. Crawford entered the game one for 13 in his career against Lohse. And outside of Crawford, the Dodgers managed only three other hits in seven innings against Lohse (1-2), all singles.
But the way Kershaw (3-2) was pitching, a 2-0 lead looked formidable. After starting the year 2-0 without allowing a run in his first two starts, Kershaw — by his standards — had appeared rather common in his last three (0-2, 5.09 ERA).
The Brewers weren’t fortunate enough to see the mortal version of Kershaw. To their chagrin, they got the Cy Young edition.
After allowing a bloop double to Rickie Weeks to open the second inning, Kershaw retired the next 18 Brewers. He did not allow another hit until Carlos Gomez got a double past Matt Kemp to lead off the eighth. Kershaw had 10 strikeouts by the sixth inning. He was in as full command of a game as the Dodgers could hope.
Brandon League completed the shutout and picked up his eighth save by pitching a scoreless ninth.
Besides limiting the Dodgers to five hits, Lohse did not walk a batter, and struck out four.