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Kershaw strikes out 10, Dodgers blank Rockies

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Associated Press
9/29/2012 1:52:34 AM
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LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw's hip felt just fine and his pitching was solid too, keeping the Los Angeles Dodgers' post-season hopes alive.

The left-hander struck out 10 over eight innings and Shane Victorino hit a three-run homer in the Dodgers' 8-0 win over the Colorado Rockies 8-0 on Friday night. Los Angeles remained three games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card with five games to play.

The Dodgers' third victory in a row clinched a winning season for the second straight year under manager Don Mattingly.

"We got to keep pressure on St. Louis," he said. "We got to force them to win every day."

Kershaw (13-9) allowed five hits and walked two, lowering his NL-leading ERA to 2.58. His 221 strikeouts are one behind New York Mets ace R.A. Dickey's 222 for the league lead.

"I'm just realistic," said Kershaw, who expects to start the Dodgers' regular season finale next Wednesday against the NL West-leading Giants. "We pretty much need to win out. We're playing great baseball now. We can't really worry about St. Louis. Obviously we're watching."

Kershaw, last season's NL Cy Young winner, pitched on his regular five days' rest after going 12 days between starts leading up to his previous start against Cincinnati on Sept. 23 because his hip was sore.

He said his hip felt good, adding, "I can't explain it. Just being back on a regular routine helps."

Kershaw helped himself in the seventh, starting a double play when he turned around and fielded Andrew Brown's comebacker between his legs with his back to the plate and fired to second for the first out.

"I was lucky," he said. "Close your eyes and hope it ended up in the glove."

The Dodgers provided Kershaw with early run support, taking a 4-0 lead in the second off Jeff Francis (5-7). Andre Ethier's RBI double scored the first run and Victorino followed with his 11th homer.

Los Angeles made it 5-0 in the fourth when Ethier singled and scored on a double-play grounder by Kershaw.

Bobby Abreu had his first career pinch-hit homer, a two-run shot off Will Harris with two outs in the eighth, extending the Dodgers' lead to 8-0.

"He was pretty much lights out," Francis said about Kershaw. "You could tell because guys weren't putting good swings against him even when the ball was in the strike zone. He was pretty spectacular."

Making his team-leading 23rd start, Francis gave up six hits and five runs in four innings, struck out three and walked one to fall to 0-3 in his last six starts. The left-hander hasn't won since Aug. 27 against the Dodgers. The last-place Rockies' four-game winning streak ended as they opened a season-ending six-game road trip.

NOTES: Colorado 1B Jordan Pacheco went 0 for 4, ending his hitting streak at 10 games. ... Kershaw struck out at least 10 for the third time this season and 18th in his career. ... Los Angeles earned its first shutout win since Aug. 19, a 5-0 victory at Atlanta. ... The Dodgers sent INF Stefan JarrDin, the son of Dodger Spanish-language broadcaster Jorge and grandson of Hall of Famer broadcaster Jaime, to Philadelphia as the player to be named later in the July 31 Victorino trade. The 22-year-old JarrDin batted .209 with three homers and nine RBI in 26 games for the rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers. ... Tony Orlando serenaded Tom Lasorda with "Happy Birthday" between innings. Lasorda, who turned 85 last weekend, received a standing ovation from the crowd and both teams.

Clayton Kershaw (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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