The Los Angeles Dodgers weren’t active on the final day non-waiver trades were permitted and took the field Thursday with their ace on the mound and looking to complete a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves.
Clayton Kershaw got off to a strong start as he struck out two of the three batters he faced in the first inning. Yasiel Puig drew a walk in the bottom of the inning after Dee Gordon was thrown out trying to steal second.
Adrian Gonzalez continued his hot hitting and drove Puig in with a double to right center and the Dodgers led 1-0 at the end of the first. Kershaw collected two more strikeouts over the next two innings and the Dodgers maintained their one-run lead into the bottom of the third.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Puig hit a solo home run, which was his first since July 4. B.J. Upton led off the fourth with a single but was thrown out trying to steal second. Upton beat A.J. Ellis’ throw but his momentum carried him off the bag, which allowed Hanley Ramirez to apply the tag.
Braves starter Julio Teheran held the Dodgers without a baserunner in the fourth and fifth innings as his offense failed generate much of anything against Kershaw. The Dodger left-hander got through the seventh inning with eight strikeouts on 85 pitches.
Though not as efficiently, Teheran also had eight strikeouts after seven innings. Kershaw remained on the mound in the eighth and allowed a lead off single to Ryan Doumit. Gordon then picked up his pitcher by turning a 4-3 double play.
Kershaw then got Phil Gosselin to ground out to end the inning. The Dodger ace wound up needing just four pitches to get out of the eighth. Puig hit a two-out double in the eighth and after intentionally walking Gonzalez, Teheran retired Ramirez on the first pitch to end the threat.
Ramirez finished the night 0-for-4 and 0-for-11 in the three-game series. Kershaw began the ninth on 89 pitches and allowed a pair of one-out singles that put the tying runs on the corners.
Kershaw struck out Freddie Freeman on a full count only to see Justin Upton narrowly beat out a slow dribbler to Juan Uribe that scored a run and left two on for the Braves. Kershaw then retired Evan Gattis to secure his fifth complete game of the season.
The win was also Kershaw’s first in the regular season against the Braves, which gives him at least one regular season win against every NL team.
With the 2-1 victory, the Dodgers swept the three-game series with the Braves and moved 3.5 games ahead of the idle San Francisco Giants in the NL West standings.
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