The 21-year-old found a way out of a difficult jam in the fifth inning.
Kershaw issued two walks and added an error on an attempted sacrifice bunt to load the bases for the Angels with no outs.
Then, Kershaw got veteran Bobby Abreu to bounce into a one-two-three double play. Torii Hunter followed next with a pop out to shortstop, and the threat was over as quickly as it began.
Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre wanted Kershaw to learn how to deal with pressure situations, saying about the self-inflicted fifth inning, “He got himself into this thing, [so I] let him get himself out.”
On the night, Kershaw scattered four hits and struck out four. He also walked four Angels’ batters. It was his second consecutive scoreless outing after shutting out the Oakland A’s in five and two third innings work on Tuesday.
That was coming on the heels of a forgetful two and two third innings, 80-pitch debacle against San Diego on Jun. 10.
After the game, Torre commented on Kershaw’s performance:
“I thought he was terrific. That's a huge game. Two games ago, it was the worst game this year and the last two have been really, very good.”
The Dodgers’ Juan Pierre broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth inning with his first of two RBI doubles, both plating Matt Kemp.
Halo’s started John Lackey (2-3) went eight innings, but gave up nine hits and four runs. Previous to Sunday, Lackey had a 5-1 record against the Dodgers.
James Loney added his fourth home run of the season to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 4-0 in the seventh inning. The Dodgers’ first baseman launched a two-out, 0-1 offering from John Lackey off of the railings behind the right-center field wall.
The play was originally ruled a home run, and the umpires conferred, looked at the video replay, and upheld the long ball.
Casey Blake also went 2-4 and added an RBI infield single in the ninth to stretch the Dodgers’ lead to 5-1. Blake had made a throwing error in the field the previous inning that allowed the Angels to score their first run of the night.
Dodgers’ closer Jonathan Broxton pitched a tense ninth inning to earn his 17th save of the season. He surrendered two runs on three hits, and Mike Napoli came to the plate with two outs representing the tying run.
Broxton was able to buckle down and force Napoli to roll over to Casey Blake at third for the final out of the game.
Other Notes from Sunday night:
Best of the Best
The Dodgers added to their league best record and moved to 22-games over .500 for the first time this season.
Three Items or Fewer
With Sunday’s win, the Dodgers moved to 32-6 in games when their opponent scores were three or fewer runs.
Daily Double…Times Five
Five Dodger hitters recorded at least two hits on Sunday: Juan Pierre, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp.
James Loney leads the Dodgers with 47 RBI, 27 of which have come on the road. On the season, Loney is hitting .316 on the road and just .242 at home.
Gaining Some Leverage on the Cross-Town Foes
The Dodgers have to be more than happy after winning two out of three at Angel Stadium. The series win was the first at Angel Stadium for the Dodgers since Jul. 2-4, 2004, when they also took two out of three.
Things Tightening Up Out West
The Angels, who trail the Texas Rangers by half a game in the AL West, allowed the third place Mariners to creep within two games of them in the standings. Texas has lost three in a row, while the Angels have dropped two straight to the Dodgers.
The Mariners swept the hapless Diamondbacks this weekend with two late-inning rallies on Saturday and Sunday.
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