LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw dominated again Monday night at Dodger Stadium, firing a two-hit shutout in a 1-0 Dodgers win over the Reds, whose losing streak reached eight.
With a third shutout (all this month), Kershaw is 7-1 with a 1.48 ERA, 5-0 in May, and the Dodgers have won nine of his 10 starts this season. He struck out seven and walked one, snapping an MLB-record streak of six consecutive starts with at least 10 strikeouts and no more than one walk. The walk he issued on Monday was only his fifth this year, compared to an MLB-leading 95 strikeouts in 79 innings. Over the last calendar year, Kershaw is 21-5 with a 1.42 ERA with 323 strikeouts and 31 walks in 253 1/3 innings.
"I don't think he was too concerned about the record or streak," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "He wanted to lead us to victory, and that's exactly what he did."
Kershaw also got a single and went first to third when the Reds got sloppy on defense.
"We talk a lot about Clayton's preparation and his elevation of people's games around him," said Roberts. "But what he does in the batter's box, on the bases, just his will to be great, seems like every single time he takes the mound he goes Little League on us and does something to help us win and carries us on his shoulders and puts us on his back. We got some hits, but we needed a shutout, and he gave it to us."
Brandon Finnegan was the tough-luck loser in the pitchers' duel, throwing the first complete game of his career only to take the loss due to a run that scored in the sixth inning on a walk, an error and a check-swing single. While he only finished with two strikeouts against four walks, he was able to control the outside of the zone and induce weak contact, which led to four double plays.
"Same stuff I've been throwing every game," Finnegan said. "Sometimes it gets hit, sometimes it doesn't. Just kept the ball down in the zone and they hit a lot of double plays today."
The Dodgers have won their last seven games against the Reds.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED One is enough for Kershaw: The only run Kershaw needed scored in the sixth inning. Justin Turner led off with a walk from Finnegan, took second when catcher Tucker Barnhart's pickoff throw sailed into right field for his second error, went to third on Adrian Gonzalez's check-swing chip-shot single over third baseman Jordan Pacheco and scored on Howie Kendrick's double-play grounder.
Finnegan sets new high bar: For the first time in his big league career, Finnegan finished the seventh inning thanks to a 4-6-3 double play that nullified a Yasiel Puig leadoff single. Finnegan went on to pitch a scoreless eighth to finish off a complete game on a night where it just wasn't enough.
"I was really proud of the way that Finnegan ran the table and threw those eight innings," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "Head to head, he didn't have any room for error at all going against Kershaw, who had it going pretty well. Tough loss, but a heck of a well-pitched game by a young kid." More >
Two-way player: Kershaw tried to take care of the scoring as well. After A.J. Ellis' one-out walk in the fifth, Kershaw faked a bunt and grounded deep into the hole, but shortstop Zack Cozart's throw to second just beat Ellis, who was playing despite catching 17 innings on Sunday. Kershaw then took second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on catcher Tucker Barnhart's errant throw, but he was stranded on Kiké Hernandez's flyout. More >
"I need to work on my slides," said Kershaw.
Cozart leads it off: It wasn't immediately apparent that Kershaw was going to have the showing he did, as Zack Cozart jumped on a first-pitch fastball to lead off the first inning with a double. It was Cozart's 19th extra-base hit of the season, tying him with Xander Bogaerts for fourth among MLB shortstops. It was also the 500th hit of his career.
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: After a stellar start to 2016 in the Minors, Daniel Wright will make his MLB debut on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium in place of Tim Adleman, who is on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. ET.
Dodgers: Tuesday night's 7:10 p.m. PT matchup with the Reds will feature another fill-in start for Mike Bolsinger, who takes over for Ross Stripling, unlucky enough to pitch three innings of emergency relief and get the win in Sunday's 17-inning marathon, then sent down. Bolsinger made a spot-start last week, charged with three runs in 4 1/3 innings of a loss in Anaheim.