LOS ANGELES -- Record-setter Clayton Kershaw fired a three-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts and rode home runs by Yasmani Grandal and Chase Utley to a 5-0 Dodgers win over the Mets Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, splitting the four-game series.
"It was special," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Just his focus on the day to day, just knowing the bullpen has been used this series and to now take it upon himself to go the distance. I definitely put my fan hat on tonight."
While throwing his second shutout of the season and 14th of his career, Kershaw (5-1) reclaimed the league strikeout lead over Max Scherzer (77-66) and issued his first walk since April 21. He has double-digits in strikeouts and no more than one walk in each of the last five starts, setting an MLB record. His five starts with at least 10 strikeouts are also a club record (the MLB record is eight). His ERA is 1.74 and his last three wins followed Dodgers losses.
Grandal's three-run blast off losing pitcher Bartolo Colon (3-2) capped a four-run first inning and was his second homer in as many days. Utley, who led off the game with a single, slugged a solo shot in the second inning. Utley had three hits and is 10-for-20 off Colon in his career.
"Balls were up, balls were over the plate," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Colon. "Didn't really have that good life that he's normally had. I told [pitching coach Dan Warthen], he's had two tremendous outings in a row. You put him back on regular rest, the first time these guys have done it in a while, and tonight he just wasn't looking real sharp."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Battery change: Roberts said before the game he wanted to start Grandal behind the plate instead of longtime Kershaw catcher A.J. Ellis because he liked the matchup, even though Grandal was 0-for-5 lifetime against Colon. Then Grandal slugged a three-run homer in his first at-bat.
"Yazzy's big swing was huge for us," said Roberts. "At-bats he conducts, he's swinging really well, I like the way he receives, I just felt that I liked the matchup. Can't predict a three-run homer, but I thought Yazzy had the chance to do some damage."
Preserving the shutout: Until the ninth inning, Kershaw allowed only one Met to reach scoring position when Curtis Granderson doubled with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. But Kershaw caught Asdrubal Cabrera looking for his ninth strikeout to strand Granderson. In the ninth, after Cabrera's two out single and a balk, Kershaw struck out David Wright to end the game.
Quick hands from Bartolo: Roberts described Colon, a former teammate, as "a sneaky athlete," among other things, before the game. Colon got a chance to show off that athleticism when he nabbed a comebacker from Yasiel Puig to lead off the fourth inning. The ball left Puig's bat at 98 mph, according to Statcast™.
Asdrubal all over the place: The Dodgers' four-run first inning came to an end when Cabrera made the first of a few good defensive plays, laying out to catch a line drive from Puig. The highlights continued in the sixth inning, when a shifted Cabrera laid out to corral a Joc Pederson ground ball.
"It seemed like as the game went on we started getting a little bit more of a rhythm. He had a lot of quick outs, a lot of strikeouts. It just seemed like he was cruising like he's been doing for a while now." -- Grandal on catching Kershaw for only the second time this season
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Kershaw is 81-0, and the Dodgers are 91-6, when he receives four runs of support in a start. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Mets:Matt Harvey will pitch at Coors Field for the first time in his career as the Mets take on Jon Gray and the Rockies on Friday. First pitch is set for 8:40 p.m. ET.
Dodgers: In a duel of Texas A&M Aggies, Ross Stripling starts for the Dodgers in the series opener vs. the Cardinals' Michael Wacha, with a 7:10 p.m. PT first pitch. After six starts, he's still looking for his first Major League victory.