Cardinals don't have answer for Kershaw

Cardinals don't have answer for Kershaw

LOS ANGELES -- As he accepted his National League Most Valuable Player Award some three months after throwing his final pitch of the 2014 season, Clayton Kershaw closed his speech with a nod to the team that had just stunned him twice in the NL Division Series.

"My last thank you goes to the St. Louis Cardinals," he began. "Thank you for reminding me that you're never as good as you think you are."

On Saturday, Kershaw reminded the Cardinals of how good he can be.

With his most dominant start of the year, Kershaw dropped the Cardinals to a 2-0 loss at Dodger Stadium by limiting them to one hit -- a Randal Grichuk single in the second -- over eight innings. The same pitcher who has lost four postseason games against St. Louis since 2013, struck out 11 and did not allow a runner to reach scoring position all night.

"He was good," Pete Kozma offered as an understatement afterward. "Showed us why he is the best in the game."

Despite St. Louis' run of postseason success against Kershaw, he actually has had the Cardinals handcuffed in his recent non-October appearances against them. Kershaw now has won three straight regular-season games against the Cardinals, pitching at least seven innings in each.

"I never say dominating, but it's always nice to get a few quick outs and get the first guy of the inning out, things like that," Kersahw said. "Just throwing strikes and hoping for the best."

Kershaw joins Cleveland's Corey Kluber and the Mets' Jacob deGrom as the only starters to throw eight innings of one-hit ball against the Cardinals this year. St. Louis, which was shut out a dozen times in 2014, already has been blanked six times this season.

"He was sharp, had all four pitches working and didn't give us much traction at all," manager Mike Matheny said. "We know every time we see him it's going to be one of those games."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.