Kershaw strikes out 11 Rangers in 6 scoreless innings
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Clayton Kershaw showed there's no cause for concern after a mediocre performance in his previous spring training start.
The Los Angeles Dodgers ace struck out 11 in six scoreless innings as the Dodgers beat the Texas Rangers 10-2 on Thursday. He allowed two singles and walked none.
Kershaw lost to Seattle on March 17, giving up four runs on six hits, including three home runs, in five innings.
''Just sometimes you pitch better,'' Kershaw said. ''I think I just pitched a little bit better today.''
Kershaw began the game by striking out the first four batters. He ended his outing by striking out the final five.
''The fastball command wasn't as good as I need it to be during the season,'' Kershaw said. ''I fell behind a lot of guys. Just, longer at-bats gets your pitch count up. It makes it tough to go seven or eight innings.
''Overall, I felt it was better tonight. I threw everything well at times. Just the fastball command has to get a little bit better.''
He threw 92 pitches.
''It is probably more than I'd like for six innings in a real game, but definitely OK for this one,'' Kershaw said.
Kershaw cherished the extra day between starts.
''I'm not one of those guys that has to pitch every five days,'' he said. ''I'll definitely take that extra day if it works out that way if they give it to me. It didn't hurt.''
Kershaw has allowed 10 hits, struck out 28 and walked four in 21 innings over six starts.
While the Rangers used a designated hitter, Kershaw hit. He walked to lead off the sixth.
''I didn't take the bat off my shoulder,'' Kershaw said.
He took second on a wild pitch, but would have been out if not for catcher Robinson Chirinos' poor throw.
''I was probably not the smartest guy in the world to take second base there,'' Kershaw said. ''It's good to be out there and learn your limitations. I was a little fortunate that it was a bad throw, but I'll take it.''
Third base coach Chris Woodward held up Kershaw at third on Chase Utley's single to center.
''Woody is probably just looking after me a little bit,'' Kershaw said.
Chase Utley hit a two-run homer in the first, while Yasiel Puig contributed a two-run single in third. The Dodgers scored seven runs in the first four innings off Rangers right-hander Dillon Gee.