SAN DIEGO -- Clayton Kershaw hadn't pitched for a month and a half because of a back injury. It certainly didn't show Friday night at Petco Park.
For a decade, Kershaw has been the Dodgers' stopper, and he was back to his old self Friday, outdueling Padres rookie Dinelson Lamet in a 1-0 victory. Kershaw's six scoreless innings helped Los Angeles snap a season-long five-game skid, and it moved the Dodgers an astonishing 51 games over .500. They have won each of the last 16 games started by their three-time Cy Young Award-winning southpaw. His 12-game win streak is the most by a Dodgers since Burt Hooton in 1975.
How good was Kershaw? In his first start since July 23, he was limited to 70 pitches, but he still struck out seven Friars while allowing only two infield hits.
"Efficiency wise, I think it was as good as you could have expected or hoped," said Kershaw. "Usually you think about 15 pitches an inning. I was fortunate to get through six. I got early outs and threw strikes so they had to swing the bats."
The bullpen picked up right where he left off, tossing three perfect innings, and the Padres didn't hit a ball out of the infield all night.
"I was wondering with (Alex Verdugo, debuting in center field), waiting for him to make a play, I haven't seen him make a play all night," manager Dave Roberts said. "I didn't realize none of the outfielders made a play."
Lamet was almost as good. But he allowed a sixth-inning RBI single to Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley that proved to be the difference. The righty dazzled with his slider, striking out 10 -- his second-highest total -- while allowing six hits and walking three.
"It was a pleasure to face [Kershaw], and it definitely motivated me," Lamet said. "I knew I was going to have to give my best effort, and I knew he was going to make pitches, so I had to do the same."
Kenley Jansen, wearing golden spikes, pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 36th save, tied for the league lead. Roberts said Jansen would donate the spikes to be auctioned for charity. He was asked if the league would fine Jansen for violating the uniform code.
"He can afford it," Roberts said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lamet's lament: Sitting on 100 pitches, Lamet found himself with two strikes on Utley in the game's decisive moment. Utley spoiled two of Lamet's would-be putaway pitches before lacing a fastball back up the middle. Justin Turner, who finished the night 3-for-4, scored easily from second.
Escape act: Utley had a chance to do more damage in the top of the eighth. Yasiel Puig swiped second on the first pitch of his at-bat, putting two men in scoring position. But Padres reliever Kyle McGrath -- the first of the Padres' four September callups to see game action -- got Utley to pop to third, keeping the game within reach.
"He definitely wasn't rusty. His fastball had life like it normally has. His breaking pitches were as sharp as they normally were. He looked like he was in midseason form." -- Padres third baseman Cory Spangenberg
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Since Sept. 21, 2013, the Dodgers have won each of Kershaw's 12 starts against the Padres. He has allowed no more than one earned run in 11 of them.
REPLAY REVIEW Chris Taylor was twice cut down on the bases Friday night. He singled in the third, only to be caught stealing on catcher Austin Hedges' laser to second base. Then, he singled in the seventh, but was picked off by Padres right-hander Phil Maton. Taylor was ruled safe initially, but replays confirmed that Wil Myers' backhand swipe tag beat him to the bag.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers:Brock Stewart will be recalled to start the 12:40 p.m. PT first game and Yu Darvish will start the 7:10 p.m. PT second game of Saturday's doubleheader. Stewart will try to balance the scales of dramatically different WHIP splits (2.069 as starter, 0.767 as reliever). Darvish will try to implement mechanical adjustments he's been working on in the bullpen almost daily.
Padres:Clayton Richard starts the opener on Saturday, and Jordan Lyles will get the ball in the nightcap as the Padres host their first doubleheader since July 1, 2006. Lyles, who signed a Minor League deal with San Diego last month, was called up Friday, after posting a 4.50 ERA with Triple-A El Paso.