Kershaw makes Final Vote push with shutout

Dodgers ace dominates in last start before All-Star break

Kershaw makes Final Vote push with shutout

LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw set a season-high with 13 strikeouts, including the final two outs, as an exclamation point for his first shutout of the season in a 5-0 win over the Phillies on Wednesday night, which served as his final audition for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote.

VOTE Kershaw for Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote

Kershaw's performance in his final start before the All-Star break made a compelling case for his Final Vote candidacy. He is one of five players in the National League vying for a spot in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati.

"I'd love to get the chance to go. If not, I've got a nice nine-day break, starting now," Kershaw said. "I don't really care how I get to go. I've got no pride in that. It doesn't say fan vote when it's all said and done. If I get to go, great, if not, maybe a little bit of disappointment."

Kershaw (6-6) lowered his ERA to a season-low 2.85 and owns a 1.53 ERA in his last nine starts. It was his 10th career game with double-digit strikeouts and no walks, the most in Dodgers history, according to Baseball Reference.

Kershaw completes shutout

"It was a lot of fun to finish a game, that's the goal now every time out," Kershaw said. "It helped out that I have a long time off to make Donnie's decision a little easier there in the ninth. But shaking a guy's hand at the end, that's what Sandy [Koufax] always said, that's the goal."

The Phillies had plenty of chances, however, to get on the board. Kershaw had only three 1-2-3 innings on the night and scattered eight hits. The Phillies were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

"He navigated a lot of traffic out there, which normally you don't see in a shutout, especially from him," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "Normally he just kind of rolls through the nine innings."

There was some debate as to whether Kershaw would finish the game. Already at 105 pitches and his spot in the order due up second in the bottom of the frame, manager Don Mattingly leaned on the side of taking the reigning MVP out of the game. However pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, plus some lobbying from Kershaw, kept Kershaw in the game.

"I wanted to save an inning's worth of bullets," Mattingly said. "But at some point, we're going to let him roll. Him and Zack [Greinke], those are our guys and if we're going to let them roll, today's probably the best day."

In the ninth, Kershaw allowed a leadoff double. But he induced Freddy Galvis into a groundout then caught Domonic Brown and Andres Blanco looking to end the game the way he started it.

"What impressed me was that ninth inning. He wanted that shutout," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "Everything was sharp that last inning. ... He made some outstanding pitches late."

Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League until 4 p.m. ET on Friday.

During the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

The 86th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.