SAN DIEGO -- By the fifth inning Saturday, the Dodgers had built a five-run cushion for Clayton Kershaw in San Diego. There are no locks in baseball. But that's pretty close.
A noticeably fired-up Kershaw continued his mastery of the Padres, tossing 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 10-2 victory, the Dodgers' fifth win in six games against San Diego. Kershaw's ERA dipped to 2.00 in 31 career starts vs. the Friars -- and 1.85 at Petco Park.
"It was a good win, a really good win, and I'll take that tonight," said Kershaw, displeased by plate umpire Toby Basner's strike zone throughout the night and dismayed that he couldn't finish off the eighth inning.
After Ryan Schimpf's towering homer to lead off the frame, Kershaw walked a pair. He was particularly displeased at a 2-2 pitch to Wil Myers and leapt into the air while pirouetting toward center field. The Padres loaded the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate. But closer Kenley Jansen caught Hunter Renfroe looking to end the inning.
Shortly afterward, the Dodgers capitalized on their own bases-loaded situation, with Cody Bellinger putting the game out of reach. The Dodgers rookie smacked a grand slam into the right-field seats on an 0-2 pitch, his third homer of the series and his fifth since being called up last week.
"That ball tonight, I haven't seen too many people put a barrel on that, let alone hit a home run," Kershaw said of his rookie teammate. "It's pretty impressive what he's doing. Just an all-around good baseball player. running the bases, playing good defense. It's pretty special."
Padres left-hander Clayton Richard labored extensively over five innings, as he allowed five runs on seven hits and a career-high six walks. In all five innings, Richard allowed the leadoff man to reach base, but the Dodgers didn't break through until they scored three in the fourth, aided by RBI singles from Bellinger and Yasiel Puig.
"That's one of the most disappointing outings I've had," Richard said. "I did not attack the strike zone, which successful pitchers do. … You saw on the other side what it looks like when someone attacks the strike zone. I didn't do that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Unleash the cannon:Kiké Hernandez spoiled the Padres' best chance to score an early run off Kershaw. Manuel Margot and Cory Spangenberg led off the game with consecutive singles, setting the stage for Myers, who hit a fly ball to center field. Hernandez caught it and unleashed a brilliant throw to third base, nailing Margot for a double play.
Kiké does it all: Hernandez chipped in with the bat in the top of the fifth. After Clayton Richard walked three of the first four hitters in the frame, Hernandez hit a rocket down the left-field line and into the corner. It plated two runs and put the Dodgers on top, 5-1.
"It's really disappointing having a gameplan going in and not executing it. I'm the one to blame for that. At times it's difficult to swallow. I know what it takes to be better. The good thing is, it's an easy fix." -- Richard
"Honestly, just trying to battle. I didn't think it was that high coming in. Then I watched the video and I don't even know how I hit it. I was just trying not to strike out." -- Bellinger, on his 0-2 grand slam
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Saturday marked the second time that both Claytons squared off against each other. The first came on July 13, 2012, a 2-1 Dodgers victory. Strangely enough, both Claytons were pitching to catchers with the first name of Austin -- Barnes for the Dodgers and Hedges for the Padres.
Dodgers outfielder Franklin Gutierrez was removed in the fifth inning with a tight hip, but manager Dave Roberts said he doesn't believe the outfielder will return to the disabled list. Gutierrez came off the disabled list four days ago after needing three weeks to recover from a strained hamstring. Roberts called the early departure "precautionary."
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: In Sunday's 1:40 p.m. PT series finale, Brandon McCarthy starts for the Dodgers on one extra day of rest after suffering an unspecified injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder in a Wednesday weight room incident. McCarthy might not be able to swing a bat, but he played catch Saturday with no obvious problem.
Padres:Trevor Cahill will start Sunday's series finale with first pitch slated for 1:40 p.m. PT. The veteran right-hander has posted a 30 percent strikeout rate this season, well above his career average, largely because of his success with his curveball.