Clayton Kershaw started July by allowing six runs in his first four innings.

A month later, he was named National League Pitcher of the Month.

After Bobby Abreu’s two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning in Anaheim, Kershaw pitched 32 innings in the remainder of July and allowed 25 hits, seven walks and two earned runs — an 0.56 ERA — while striking out 39.

That gave him a svelte enough 2.02 ERA for the month with 45 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings, enough to beat competitors like Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (41 1/3 innings, 19 strikeouts, 1.52 ERA) and San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum (30 innings, 30 strikeouts, 1.80 ERA).

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has a couple of added notes: Kershaw was second in fielding-independent ERA (1.96) and WAR 1.3), just behind Madison Bumgarner’s 1.92 and 1.5, first in expected FIP (2.15). Also, Stephen says Kershaw is the Dodgers’ first NLPiOM since Derek Lowe in August 2006.

Kershaw ended up allowing the same number earned runs in July as Edwin Jackson allowed in 2 1/2 hours this afternoon.