Clayton Kershaw tossed eight scoreless innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers shut out the Washington Nationals for the second consecutive game 3-0 at Dodger Stadium in the rubber match of the three-game series on Wednesday night.
Kershaw (10-6) was lights out as he took a perfect game into the sixth inning before Michael Taylor doubled off the wall in center to break up the MVP's bid for perfection.
Kershaw settled for a three-hitter, striking out eight batters and walking none over eight scoreless innings as the Dodgers blanked the Nationals for their Major League-leading 17th shutout of the season.
"I had a lot of things go my way which is always nice," Kershaw said of his performance. "I had pretty decent command and got some quick outs."
Kershaw, who leads the league in strikeouts with 205, struck out the side in the second inning to surpass the 200-strikeout mark for the sixth consecutive season.
"I like consistency," Kershaw continued. "When you look around at Mark Buehrle and Dan Haren, I have a lot of respect for those guys. Hopefully in 10 years or so, I'll be in that category."
Kershaw joins Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale in the pantheon of Dodgers greats who have recorded 200 or more strikeouts in six seasons. Kershaw also joins Koufax and Tom Seaver as the only pitchers in the modern era to accomplish the feat in six or more consecutive seasons.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is unbeaten in his last seven starts posting a 5-0 record with an astonishing 0.75 ERA over that span.
Kershaw was countered by Nationals ace Jordan Zimmerman who nearly matched Kershaw through seven innings before the Dodgers broke the game open in the bottom of the eighth.
Zimmerman (8-8) allowed just one run on two hits with one walk and a season-high nine strikeouts in seven strong innings for Washington.
"My fastball command was good," Zimmerman said. "I made one mistake and when you're going against a guy like Clayton you have to be perfect."
Kiké Hernandez made two sparkling defensive plays in a rare start at shortstop to keep Kershaw's perfect game in tact in the early innings.
"The harder they hit it at me, the more I like it," Hernandez said of the balls hit to short. "I was just trying to keep myself out of the 'error' column, but I had flashbacks of that game in New York."
Kershaw previously took a perfect game into the seventh inning against the New York Mets on July 23 before Curtis Granderson broke it up with a single to right field.
Joc Pederson scored two of the three Dodgers' runs without recording a single hit. Pederson walked in the third inning and scored on a Carl Crawford single to left field.
Crawford started in the leadoff spot for the first time in a year and went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Crawford missed three months of the season when he strained an oblique muscle in late April, and has been used sparingly by Dodgers' manager Don Mattingly since his return to the team at the end of July.
"My at-bats are limited right now, so I'm just trying to make something happen whenever I get the chance," Crawford said.
Pederson was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored on a double down the right field line by pinch-hitter Andre Ethier. Nationals second baseman Anthony Rendon, sailed his relay throw over catcher Wilson Ramos head and into the seats behind home plate, and both Pederson and Ethier scored on the error.
Kenley Jansen struck out Nationals' slugger Bryce Harper to end the game, earning his 22nd save of the season in 23 chances.
"Bryce Harper is one of the great hitters in the game right now," Jansen said. "He will get you if you make a mistake, so you have to mix it up on him and get him out."
Harper finished 0-for-4 on the night with two strikeouts and saw his hitting streak snapped at 10 games.
Ethier's pinch-hit double in the bottom of the eighth inning was his is 293rd career double, tying Bill Russell for fifth place on the franchise doubles list.
It was LA Kings night at the stadium on Wednesday night as fans in attendance wore LA Kings hockey jerseys and players, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez and Kyle Clifford all threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.