After failing to give Clayton Kershaw adequate run support over the his last three starts, the Dodgers popped off for eight runs as they swept the Tampa Bay Rays 8-2 in Los Angeles.
Clayton Kershaw was, well, Clayton Kershaw, with eight innings of three-hit, one-earned-run ball. He walked two batters, struck out eight and lowered his league-leading 1.88 ERA on the way to his 11th win this season.
He carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, giving up a single to Yunel Escobar, and a triple to Sam Fuld for his only earned run of the game. Another run scored in the eighth, but only because Dee Gordon committed an error to load the bases, giving Wil Myers an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
Kershaw took the game into his own hands early with the bat, with runners on second and third and two outs, hitting a two-run single to give the team a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
Mark Ellis had a great day offensively, going 3-5 with an RBI single and two-run homer in the sixth. The rest of the Dodgers' eight runs came from A.J. Ellis with a sacrifice fly and a two-run double from Adrian Gonzalez.
One thing that I did not ever expect this season was wishing that Nick Punto was playing at shortstop. He got the day off, giving Dee Gordon the start, but the youngster put on a frustrating display of defense with three errors in the game. While Punto is not perfect defensively, he has just one error in his seven starts at shortstop and has been hitting well in Ramirez's place.
After completing the sweep of Tampa Bay the Dodgers are now 10-1 in August, 20-3 since the All-Star Break, 37-8 since June 22 and have a 7.5-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the NL West. The 54-61 New York Mets come to town for a three-game series starting Monday, with Ricky Nolasco, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Chris Capuano on the mound for Los Angeles.