Kershaw pitches 6 strong innings, Dodgers beat Braves 4-0
LOS ANGELES (AP) Clayton Kershaw had one of his worst starts of the season Saturday night, and the Los Angeles Dodgers got yet another shutout victory.
Kershaw held Atlanta to three hits over six innings and Los Angeles' bullpen closed things out to help the Dodgers beat the Braves 4-0 on Saturday night.
Kershaw (8-1) struck out four and walked one in his shortest outing this season.
''It wasn't great tonight,'' Kershaw said. ''Physically, I felt fine, but the ball wasn't coming out very good today. Six innings isn't why we are here, it's not acceptable.
''I'll take it for tonight, but I don't ever want to leave three innings for the bullpen.''
Joe Blanton, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen pitched an inning each after Kershaw. It was the fifth time Los Angeles got a shutout in a game started by Kershaw this season.
Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts made the call to remove Kershaw after six innings.
''It was kind of a grind for Kersh tonight,'' Roberts said. ''Five of the six leadoff guys got on base and he continued to make pitches, which he does.
''After 25-ish pitches in that inning, I thought six was good.''
In his seven starts at Dodger Stadium this season, Kershaw is 6-1 with a 1.31 ERA. During that span, he has struck out 65 and walked only three, and he has won five consecutive home starts.
Kershaw scored the game's first run after beating out an infield hit in the third. He went to second on a walk, and then scored on Justin Turner's two-out single.
Atlanta starter Bud Norris (1-7) held the Dodgers to a run on three hits over five innings. He struck out two and walked four.
Norris began the season in Atlanta's rotation but was moved to the bullpen in late April after going 1-4. This was his first game back as a starter since April 27.
''I gave it all I had,'' Norris said. ''It's what I trained for all of the offseason.''
A 10-bell tribute and a moment of silence were held prior to the game in memory of former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, who died Friday at age 74.
Corey Seager was 0 for 3 with a walk after hitting three homers on Friday.
Los Angeles added three insurance runs in the eighth behind RBIs from Joc Pederson, A.J. Ellis and Yasmani Grandal. Pederson's RBI came on a squeeze bunt play.
''I think that is the first time in my life I have ever squeezed. I liked it,'' Pederson said.
Atlanta had runners in scoring position in the second, third and sixth innings, but Kershaw worked out of jams each time.
Braves: After placing RHP Mike Foltynewicz on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness, the Braves recalled RHP John Gant from Triple-A Gwinnett. This is Gant's fourth stint with the Braves, and he does not have a decision in five games while compiling a 7.00 ERA.
Dodgers: Howie Kendrick started in left field (0 for 2 with two walks) after missing a few games due to a shoulder injury he got in Chicago, and Roberts called Kendrick ''100 percent.'' ... OF James Ramsey was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
REMEMBERING THE GREATEST:
Dodgers' broadcaster Charley Steiner, a former boxing announcer, on Ali's passing:
''In the 60s we had the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Ali,'' said Steiner, 66. ''He walked away from the prime part of his career for what he believed in. Nobody would do that today. He invented trash talk.
''I felt, while announcing Ali's passing yesterday on the air, how Walter Cronkite must have felt when he announced to the country that JFK had died.
''In my lifetime, Howard Cosell, Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully and Ali have transcended sports more than anyone. A large chunk of my heart hurts and I became emotional when I heard the news. I was barely able to get through it on the air.
''Today, Muhammad is floating like a butterfly, but we're stinging like a bee.''
Dodgers right fielder Trayce Thompson had three walks and stole three bases.
THIRD TIME A CHARM?
LHP Julio Urias (0-1) will make his third major league start on Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies. The 19-year-old top prospect has a 9.39 ERA through his first two starts.
BRAVES: RHP Matt Wisler (2-5, 3.16) will take the mound for Sunday's finale of the three-game series.
DODGERS: LHP Scott Kazmir (4-3, 4.38) pitches for the Dodgers on Sunday. He last pitched on May 31 against the Cubs and allowed one hit in six scoreless innings but did not factor in the decision. It will be his first start ever against the Braves.