This time, Ker­shaw tames the Car­di­nals

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Dylan Her­nan­dez

The eight shutout in­nings Clay­ton Ker­shaw pitched Satur­day didn’t erase what hap­pened in Oc­to­ber.

Per­haps that was why Ker­shaw of­fered only a oneword re­sponse when he was asked if the Dodgers’ 2-0 vic­tory that night­was any­more mean­ing­ful be­cause it was over the St. Louis Car­di­nals.

“No,” he said.

How­ever Ker­shaw per­ceived the sig­nif­i­cance of the game, most of the base­ball world viewed it as his first start of the year against the team re­spon­si­ble for post­sea­son de­feats that threat­ened to re­de­fine his legacy.

If the tri­umph oblit­er­ated the no­tion that Ker­shaw was some­how trau­ma­tized by the Car­di­nals, it also marked a cel­e­bra­tory re­turn for All-Star right fielder Yasiel Puig, who drove in a run and scored another in his first game back from a sixweek stay on the dis­abled

list.

Puig, who was pre­vi­ously side­lined be­cause of a strained left ham­string, dou­bled to right-cen­ter field off Car­di­nals starter Jaime Gar­cia in the sev­enth in­ning to drive in Chris Heisey and break a 0-0 stale­mate. Later in the in­ning, he went from sec­ond to home on a sin­gle by Justin Turner that hit the glove of div­ing sec­ond base­man Kolten Wong and slowly rolled into cen­ter field.

The two runs were more than enough for Ker­shaw, who lim­ited the Car­di­nals to one hit. Of the three other Car­di­nals who reached base, two walked and one was hit by a pitch.

Eight months ear­lier, Ker­shaw was beaten twice by the Car­di­nals in a Na­tional League di­vi­sion se­ries.

He was charged with eight runs in 62⁄3 in­nings in a Game 1 de­feat. He served up a three-run home run to blow a two-run lead in the sev­enth in­ning of a Game 4 loss.

The previous year, Ker­shaw’s sea­son also ended with an Oc­to­ber loss to the Car­di­nals.

“We know there’s a lot of his­tory be­tween the clubs, be­tween Clay­ton and the Car­di­nals,” catcher A.J. El­lis said.

Still, El­lis down­played Ker­shaw’s per­sonal ri­valry with the Car­di­nals.

“Def­i­nitely overblown,” El­lis said.

For Ker­shaw, the start was the fourth in a row in which he pitched seven or more in­nings.

“It’s re­ally a con­tin­ual march for Clay­ton,” Man­ager Don Mat­tingly said. “The last few, re­ally, the re­sults have been kind of like this.”

Mat­tingly was equally pleased with Puig’s re­turn to the lineup. Puig hadn’t played for the Dodgers since April 24.

Puig started in right field and bat­ted third.

Though the Dodgers played well in the ini­tial stages of Puig’s time on the dis­abled list, Mat­tingly said his ab­sence had be­come no­tice­able in re­cent days.

“Over the last 10 days, we re­ally felt we missed him in the lineup,” Mat­tingly said. “You can sur­vive two weeks, three weeks, a month. But when you start get­ting into long-term is re­ally when you end up in trou­ble when you don’t have your guys. You start tax­ing other play­ers, you start putting them in matchups you don’t like be­cause it’s what you have to do. Re­ally, that’s the sit­u­a­tion here.”

The Dodgers had dropped seven of their previous 10 games, in­clud­ing the first two games of this se­ries. They played the Car­di­nals three times in St. Louis last week and lost twice.

The Car­di­nals are one of only three teams with records of .500 or bet­ter whom the Dodgers have played. The San Fran­cisco Gi­ants and San Diego Padres are the oth­ers.

En­ter­ing Satur­day night, the Dodgers were 9-14 against those teams.

Mat­tingly thought Puig’s ab­sence had some­thing to do with that.

The man­ager pointed to how Puig had played in only 11 games be­fore he was placed on the DL with a strained left ham­string. Left fielder Carl Craw­ford, who is side­lined be­cause of a torn side mus­cle, has played in only15 games.

“We haven’t been able to mix and match the way we’ve wanted to,” Mat­tingly said.

Mark J. Terrill As­so­ci­ated Press

YASIEL PUIG SCORES on a sin­gle by Justin Turner as St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina stands by.

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