Clayton Kershaw doesn't need to state his case for the All-Star Game.
The three-time Cy Young Award Winner and reigning NL MVP has more than enough accolades to make the Midsummer Classic, but just in case fans needed some more convincing, he gave it to them on Wednesday.
Kershaw struck out a season-high 13 batters in an eight-hit complete game shutout, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0.
"Sandy Koufax always said throwing a complete game is always the goal," Kershaw said. "It was nice to be able to shake the guys hands at the end of the game."
It was Kershaw's first complete game shutout of the year, and his 18th complete game of his career (10th shutout). The left-hander pitched with a chip on his shoulder after being snubbed by his peers for the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati, Ohio next week.
"It's always an honor to go, I would love to go to the All-Star Game," Kershaw continued. "I think I stated my case, but we'll see what happens. If not I have a nice nine days off."
Kershaw threw 123 pitches with no walks, scattering eight hits over nine scoreless innings. The four-time earned run average champion lowered his ERA to 2.88, making a final impression on fans who could still vote Kershaw into the All-Star Game via MLB.com's "Final Vote" contest.
"He's the greatest pitcher on the planet," catcher A.J. Ellis said simply when asked why Kershaw should make the NL All-Star Team.
In a game of tic-tac-toe between former players, it was once again Jimmy Rollins turn to vanquish his former club.
Rollins hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning to give the Dodgers a five-run lead. The former Phillies shortstop went 2-for-4 with two runs, a double and a homer, two days after hitting the game-winning single in the opening game of the series.
"It was nice to give Clayton the early lead and not have him scratch and claw," Rollins said. "We got him the W and that's the most important."
Rollins played the first 15 years of his career with the Phillies, winning an NL MVP award and a World Championship with the team in 2008.
Ellis also homered, his first of the season. Ellis had a season-high three hits, connecting on a fastball in the second inning for his first longball since Sept. 19, 2014.
"It's always good to take a zero off one of your columns," Ellis said. "My teammates joked with me that I should be sponsored by Coke Zero before the game, but now I need a sponsorship deal with the card game Uno."
Rollins led off the second inning with a double to right field, and Ellis followed with a line drive to center that just cleared the fence.
"I had the double-double, and he had a four-by-four," Rollins joked, using an In-N-Out restaurant analogy. "It was nice to get a big hit, but A.J. is the one who put us on the board early."
Phillies starter Adam Morgan got the loss, making the third start of his career, allowing five runs on six hits in just four innings for Philadelphia.
Kershaw finally got the run support he needed on Wednesday as his teammates gave him a five-run lead by the time he returned to the mound in the top of the fourth inning. Over his last four starts, the Dodgers have only averaged two runs per game.
Manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt opted to leave Kershaw in for the ninth after tossing 105 pitches. After a leadoff double to start the ninth, Kershaw struck out the last two batters to end the game.
"I was a little torn," Mattingly said. "Rick and I were split on it. Rick wanted to let him go, I wanted to save the bullets, but at some point we were going to let him roll and it was the power of destiny today."
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Kershaw tallied double-digit strikeouts with no walks for the 10th time in his career. The most in Dodgers franchise history, and tied for the most all-time with John Smotlz and Felix Hernandez.
Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernadez went 0-for-4 snapping his 12-game hitting streak.
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