Kershaw got his major league best 17th win going eight innings, allowing a run on three hits and striking out eight Nats.
He surpassed the 200 strikeout mark for the fifth consecutive season joining Dodger Hall-of-Famers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale as well as Don Sutton as the only Dodgers’ pitchers to accomplish that in franchise history.
Kershaw also got a bit dirty. Well, his uniform that is.
He got on base in the fifth inning with a single up the middle off D.C. starter Doug Fister. And when second baseman Dee Gordon laced a shot into center, Kershaw put on the (uh-hum) after-burners rounding second challenging outfielder Bryce Harper’s arm meeting it with a slide into third getting the pearl-white jersey ready for the wash.
“I don’t know if that was the smartest decision. I don’t know what I was doing really,” Said Kershaw when asked about the play. “I don’t get that opportunity much and he’s (Harper) got a really good arm in center field. It was probably a dumb play looking back on it but it ended up working out.”
Kershaw would later score on Adrain Gonzalez’s infield single giving L.A. the 1-0 lead.
“He was impressive all the way around,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Getting our offense going, going hard first to third on the basepaths. It just shows what a competitor he is.”
Kershaw really isn’t counted on for his bat and play around the bases. It’s his pitching that has the Dodgers in first place in the National League West. The obvious leader in the Cy Young race, the two-time winner of the award is also considered a front runner for N.L. Most Valuable Player.
After Tuesday’s win it’s obvious he’s one of the best and the most valuable player the Dodgers can roll out every five days.
To hear from Kershaw about getting dirty in that 5th inning, click on the video with this story.