If there is anyone out there who still thinks the Los Angeles Dodgers made a mistake in signing Clayton Kershaw to the $215 million extension during the off-season, they clearly haven't been paying attention to LA's ace pitcher this season. On Thursday, Kershaw pitched a complete game, giving Los Angeles a 2-1 win and a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves. The last time Kershaw pitched a complete game? That would be his previous start when he pitched a complete game shutout.
''Fortunately for us a lot of times he comes out on top,'' Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. ''He's an amazing talent who is just as strong in the ninth as he is in the first. There's no drop-off ever. We're spoiled rotten.'' With this win, Kershaw has tied his career best for consecutive wins at an even 10, although he hasn't been defeated in his past 11 starts, going 10-0 since his May 28 loss against the Reds.
The Braves may have lost the game, but it's not like they played poorly. Atlanta's Julio Teheran pitched eight innings, struck out nine batters and gave up just five hits. The first run he gave up came in the first inning as Adrian Gonzalez drove in Yasiel Puig with an RBI double. The second and final Dodger run came in the third when Puig hit a solo home run on a 1-2 pitcher's count. Otherwise, Teheran pitched a great game.
The downfall for the Bravos this time is what typically happens when you lose a low-scoring game, the inability to get runs across the plate. Atlanta outhit Los Angeles nine to five. One reason for the lack of runs was Atlanta hitting into two double plays as they only left four men on base compared to LA's five.
Atlanta did score their lone run of the game in the top of the ninth inning with two outs, so it's not like they completely folded. Younger Upton brother Justin drove in older brother BJ with an RBI single and put pinch runner Jordan Schafer in scoring position.
Catcher Evan Gattis, who had already gotten one hit off Kershaw in the game, had a chance to tie or give Atlanta the lead. He just ended up grounding out instead. So while Atlanta's losing streak continues, they have shown signs that they aren't dead yet, they just need a few things to fall their way.