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By Jon Weisman
Today’s game didn’t exactly slow the downhill-rolling boulder that is Clayton Kershaw’s National League Most Valuable Player candidacy.
The former prep football center was the equivalent of an NFL Punt, Pass & Kick winner today, leading the Dodgers to a 5-1 victory at Milwaukee that helped push them to a season-high 4 1/2-game lead in the NL West.
Kershaw walked leadoff batter Carlos Gomez today, the first walk the big lefty had allowed in the first inning all season. But as omens go, it wasn’t much.
Lowering his 2014 ERA to 1.78, Kershaw allowed one run on eight baserunners in eight innings with six strikeouts — and was his own best friend today. Not only did he reach base thrice (hit by a pitch, walk and RBI single), he also picked off Carlos Gomez in the fourth and made, as you can revisit in the video above, one of the great diving plays you’ll ever see a pitcher make, thwarting a Milwaukee squeeze bunt attempt.
Laundry detergent companies, the endorsement ball’s in your court.
Kershaw won his 11th straight decision, the longest winning streak for a Dodger pitcher since Orel Hershiser in 1985. Since the start of June, Kershaw has a 1.16 ERA with 117 strikeouts against only 12 walks and 62 hits in 101 innings, averaging 7.8 innings per start.
The Dodgers whittled away at the Brewers with single runs in the third, fifth and seven innings before busting loose for two in the eighth, thanks in no small part to A.J. Ellis’ first home run of 2014 and Miguel Rojas’ career-high third hit of the game.
Adrian Gonzalez had two doubles, a sacrifice fly and two RBI, and is 9 for 14 with three doubles, two homers and three walks in his past four games. The Dodgers reached base 18 times in all today.