Clayton Kershaw Strong in Return for Dodgers

It appeared as if Clayton Kershaw had never been on the disabled list for five weeks.

The ace for the Los Angeles Dodgers was impressive in this first start after returning from a five-week stint on the DL for a bad back.

On Friday night, Kershaw held San Diego to a pair of infield singles over six innings notching a 1-0 win that snapped the season-high losing streak for the Dodgers at five.

Kershaw made his first start since July 23 and raised his record to 16-2. On July 23, he was taken out after only two innings and diagnosed with a lower back strain and was placed on the DL by the team.

Following the game, Kershaw said efficiency wise the game was all he could expect. He had been targeted to pitch five innings or 75 pitches. He ended up pitching six innings and just 70 pitches.

The southpaw recorded seven strikeouts with no walks. The only two hits allowed by Kershaw were a soft grounder by Manuel Margot to second that opened the first and a grounder by Yangervis Solarte to short that opened the fifth.

Remarkably San Diego did not hit any ball into the outfield.

Three Dodgers’ relievers each threw perfect innings, with closer Kenley Jansen finishing off in the ninth to record save No. 36.

Kershaw is now 3-0 this season against the Padres and 17-6 over his career. He has won 12 straight decisions, which is a career high, and the longest active streak in baseball. He has not lost a decision since May 1.

Kershaw said he felt two weeks that he could have returned, but his manager Dave Roberts said the team was conservative and played things slowly.

The Dodgers are expected to keep tight control on the number of pitches and innings Kershaw sees during September to ensure he will be at his best during the postseason that starts in just one month.

The Dodgers own baseball’s best record of 92-41.

Los Angeles is currently first in the National League West. The Dodgers lead by 16 games over the Arizona Diamondbacks and 20 ½ games over the third pace Colorado Rockies.

The Diamondbacks and Rockies are battling for NL wildcard spots with Arizona holding the first wildcard and Colorado leads in the race for the second and final wildcard by 1 ½ games over the Milwaukee Brewers and 4 games over the St. Louis Cardinals.

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