LOS ANGELES – He's simply the best.
Clayton Kershaw threw another complete game masterpiece and the Los Angeles Dodgers sauntered past the Cincinnati Reds, 1-0, on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw (7-1), threw yet another complete game shutout –his third of the season-- allowing just two-hits for the fifth time in his career.
"I'll celebrate tonight and enjoy the win," Kershaw said of his performance. "But tomorrow, I get ready for the Mets."
The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out just seven batters, snapping his streak of six games with 10+ strikeouts.
"It was pretty apparent early on that their game plan was not to strikeout," Dodgers' catcher A.J. Ellis said of the Reds at-bats. "They were very aggressive. I can't speak enough about what our guys did on defense."
The Reds threatened in the first inning after a leadoff double by Zack Cozart, but Kershaw got Joey Votto to line out and Brandon Phillps to ground out to end the inning.
"That first inning could have gone a lot different," Kershaw said. "Votto definitely deserved a hit on that one, but the defense did a great job."
Cincinnati would come no closer than that as Kershaw was completely dominant on the night.
"I've seen enough of Kershaw in the past few years," said Reds' manager Bryan Price. "He really had it going tonight."
Fans started chanting "MVP, MVP, MVP" for the second straight day in a different city as Kershaw went back out onto the mound in the top of the ninth.
Reds' catcher Tucker Barnhardt had a rough night behind the plate as he was responsible for two errors, including one that led to the Dodgers only run.
Justin Turner led of the third inning with a walk, and took second when Barnhardt's pick-off attempt went into right field. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a single, and Turner scored on Howie Kendrick's double play ball four pitches later.
Brandon Finnegan was the bad-luck loser, allowing just one run on five hits with two strikeouts in the first complete game of his career.
"I was really proud and pleased to see what I saw from Brandon Finnegan tonight," Price said. "I'm really proud of the way he ran the table and went head-to-head with Kershaw."
Cincinnati has lost eight straight games, and seven in a row against the Dodgers.
Players of the Game:
Clayton Kershaw: Complete-game, two-hit, shutout.
Brandon Finnegan: 1 run, 5 hits, 2 SO, 8 IP
Complete Game Kershaw: Clayton Kershaw threw the 15th complete game shutout of his career, and his third of the 2016 season, tying a career-high (2015). It was Kershaw's fifth career complete game shutout with two hits or fewer.
Clayton Kershaw throws his 3rd shutout of the season, matching a single season career-high, in Dodgers' 1-0 win. pic.twitter.com/Pb1qxXi2Gs
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 24, 2016
2. May Day: Clayton Kershaw is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in the month of May. He has limited opposing hitters to a .142 average and struck out 55 batters while only walking two. Just to put that in persepctive, Kershaw has more complete game shutouts (3) than walks in the month. He will make one more start before the month is over.
In May, Clayton Kershaw has thrown more complete game shutouts (3) than walks (2).
— Daniel Goodkin-Gold (@DMDoubleG) May 24, 2016
3. Day and Night: After a 5 hour and 47 minute day game on Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds completed a two hour and 11 minute game thanks to Clayton Kershaw and Brandon Finnegan. The short game was needed for the already taxed Dodgers' bullpen.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) May 24, 2016
Reds (15-30): Right-hander Daniel Wright is expected to make his MLB debut on Tuesday against the Dodgers.
Dodgers (23-23): Mike Bolsinger makes his second start of the season in place of Ross Stripling when Los Angeles hosts the Reds at 7:10PM PST.