Los Angeles

All-Stars Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw Complete Dodgers Sweep of Kansas City Royals

Justin Turner hit a pair of homers, Clayton Kershaw threw a complete game and the Los Angeles Dodgers head into the All-Star Break with the best record in baseball, after sweeping the Kansas City Royals, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon at Chavez Ravine.

They ended the first half on a high-note.

Justin Turner hit a pair of homers, Clayton Kershaw threw a complete game, and the Los Angeles Dodgers head into the All-Star Break with the best record in baseball, after sweeping the Kansas City Royals, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers will never be royals, it doesn't run in their blood, but they do have six World Series titles in their franchise history, and could be well on their way to a seventh if they continue at this torrid pace.

15 different Dodger players have had game-winning hits this season, and on Sunday it was newly minted All-Star Justin Turner who came through with a pair of home runs to cool off Kansas City, arguably the second hottest team in baseball behind the Boys in Blue.

Turner hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first and a two-run blast in the bottom of the third as he punctuated one of the greatest hitting first halves in baseball history (.377 BA) with an exclamation point.

Bartender, I'll have another please…

Kershaw (14-2) also had a historic first half as he cemented his legacy as one of the game's best pitchers with a first half for the record books.

Kershaw threw a complete-game, allowing just six hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts in his final start before the All-Star break. He did it on exactly 99 pitches, the first pitcher in Major League history to strikeout at least 13 batters on fewer than 100 pitches.

"It was a good way to end the first half," Kershaw said after the game. "When you get your pitch count down, you can make it through nine, and it just worked out well today."

Kershaw became the first Dodger pitcher in franchise history since Sandy Koufax (15) in 1966 to win at least 14 games before the All-Star Break, and he did with the Hall-of-Fame left-hander in attendance.

"Sandy was here today, so I wanted to do it for him," Kershaw said of collecting his MLB-best 14th win and first complete game of the season.

Kershaw's 13 strikeouts on the day also gave him 159 on the season, his second highest first half total of his career (160). It was also the 59th time in his career Kershaw has struck out at least 10+ batters in a game.

The complete game was Kershaw's first of the season and his 13th consecutive victory without a loss, tied with Houston Astros starter, Dallas Keuchel and teammate Alex Wood for the most consecutive starts without a loss in the Major Leagues (active).

In his last 13 starts, Kershaw is 10-0 with a 1.98 ERA with 115 strikeouts.

Kershaw's only blemish on the day was a two-run home run to Eric Hsomer in the top of the fourth inning. 

"I was just trying to stay aggressive. The approach for me was be ready to swing early," said Hosmer of his home run and approach to Kershaw. "I was happy to see the ball roll around over the fence."

Turner provided most of the offense for the Boys in Blue as he tallied the fifth multi-homer game of his career, and catcher Austin Barnes added a solo shot in the six inning.

"When it's hot out here and there's a breeze blowing out, the ball flies pretty good here," said Turner of his two home runs. "I'm just trying to hit the ball as hard as I can every time. There's a lot of conversation about juiced balls, but I've flown out to the warning track about 30 times this year, so I guess they're not juiced for me. Sometimes they go over the fence, sometimes they don't."

The Dodgers swept the Royals for the first time in franchise history, and completed their MLB-leading 10th series sweep of the season, three more than the entire total from the 2016 NLCS season.

Los Angeles heads into the All-Star Break at 61-29, the best record in all of baseball, and a run differential of +163, the single highest in National League history.

"This is the best first half I've ever been a part of," Kershaw said of the Dodgers' record before the All-Star break. "It definitely makes the All-Star break a little more satisfying." 

The team's .678 winning percentage is the fourth highest in franchise history and single highest total since the team moved to Los Angeles. 

Scary Moment:

Home plate umpire, Kerwin Danley, was struck in the mask by a foul ball off the bat of Cody Bellinger and nearly collapsed after the contact. He left the game with concussion-like symptoms.

Up Next:

The Dodgers send six different players to the All-Star Game for the first time since 1991. Rookie Cody Bellinger highlights the Home Run Derby on Monday, with the Midsummer Classic taking place on Tuesday.

Los Angeles will be back in action on Friday against the Marlins.

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