LOS ANGELES -- On the night Vin Scully announced he will return to the broadcast booth next season, Clayton Kershaw struck out 14 and the Dodgers put up a three-run sixth inning to beat the Cubs, 4-1, on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out one in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to complete a 15-K night for Dodgers pitchers.
Kershaw tied his season-high for punchouts, one short of his career-high set during his no-hitter last June, and took the Major League season lead for strikeouts with 236. The 2014 National League MVP (11-6) lasted eight innings and struck out two or more hitters six times on the night. In eight innings, his lone mistake came in the fourth inning as Anthony Rizzo hit a 3-2 fastball to dead center field for his 26th homer of the year. Kershaw's last loss came on June 27; in 10 starts since, he has a 0.92 ERA and a 6-0 record.
"He was really sharp early and kept it the whole game," manager Don Mattingly said. "They've had some guys in the past that have given him trouble, Dexter [Fowler], [Chris] Denorfia. I thought he really set the tone for us tonight."
The Cubs were stifled for the second straight day as Madison Bumgarner struck out 12 in Thursday's game. Jason Hammel was tagged with the loss to drop his record to 7-6. The right-hander lasted five-plus innings, allowing four hits and three earned runs while striking out five.
"[Kershaw] was locked in from first pitch and I felt good, too," Hammel said. "It had the feeling of a good pitchers' duel. I was the first one to blink in the sixth inning and it cost us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bold on the basepaths: After Chase Utley drew a walk to start the sixth inning and went to second on a single, he came around to score without the ball leaving the infield. On a pitch in the dirt, Utley bolted for third. Catcher Miguel Montero's throw to third was errant and deflected off Kris Bryant's glove. With the ball rolling toward the outfield grass, Utley raced home to score and give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. More >
"Probably a good throw I'd be out there, but I took a chance," Utley said. "It didn't look like he knew where the ball was. I took a chance and it worked out."
Power ranger: Rizzo entered the game batting .323 against left-handed pitchers, and added to those numbers with a solo homer projected by Statcast™ to land 440 feet away in straight-away center with one out in the fourth off Kershaw. Rizzo now has 15 RBIs in his last 16 games. That was the first run off Kershaw at home after 31 scoreless innings, which was the longest streak in the Majors.
"He hit it really far, he's a good hitter," Kershaw said. "He's kind of a reverse lefty that hits lefties better than righty. [On] 3-2 I challenged him, he made me pay for it."
Just like old times: The Dodgers got on the board in the third inning behind former Phillies Jimmy Rollins and Utley. Rollins led off with a single through the shift on the left side, followed immediately by a triple off the wall in center field by Utley to score Rollins. The duo was in Philadelphia together from 2003-14 before reuniting in Los Angeles after the Dodgers acquired Utley two weeks ago.
The new guy:Fernando Rodney, acquired from the Mariners on Thursday, made his Cubs debut in the eighth. The right-hander, who pitched for Chicago manager Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay, retired the first batter he faced, then hit Scott Van Slyke with a pitch, threw a wild pitch, and retired the next two batters. With Jason Motte on the disabled list, the Cubs are looking for some extra arms in the bullpen, and Maddon is hoping Rodney can contribute in their push for a playoff spot. More >
SCULLY RETURNING IN 2016
In the second inning, the Dodgers announced that legendary broadcaster Vin Scully would return for his 67th season with the team in 2016. After the video announcement, Scully was greeted with a standing ovation from the home crowd. More >
"Not really. Leading the league in outs is good though." -- Kershaw on whether he cares about leading the Majors in strikeouts More >
"The young guys shouldn't get frustrated. They're not the only guys striking out facing Kershaw. Kershaw strikes out everybody -- it doesn't matter. He's pretty filthy. Don't feel bad about 0-for-3, 0-for-4 against him. Those are the type of pitchers who you're not supposed to get a hit against." -- MonteroMore >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Giants' Bumgarner struck out 12 Cubs on Thursday, and Kershaw reached double digit K's on Friday. According to Scully, it's the first time since 1969 that a team has faced the defending World Series MVP and the League MVP on consecutive days.
WHAT'S NEXT Cubs:Jon Lester starts Saturday night's Game 2 of the three-game series. The lefty is coming off a stellar outing against the Indians in which he gave up one run over 8 2/3 innings. He lost to the Dodgers in June at Wrigley Field, serving up four runs over four innings on four hits and four walks. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. CT from Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers: Mat Latos will make his first start since Aug. 13 as he was moved to the bullpen for the Dodgers' last road trip. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts for Los Angeles this season. Latos has lasted less than five innings in each of his past two starts and he took losses in both of them.
Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.