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Kershaw tosses gem, Puig homers as Dodgers beat Rockies

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The Canadian Press
7/3/2013 12:00:12 AM
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DENVER -- For one night, the conversation wasn't all about rookie sensation Yasiel Puig.

Granted, the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder did have another stellar game, which is pretty much the standard these days. But Clayton Kershaw accomplished what few have been able to do lately -- he stole some of Puig's spotlight.

Kershaw tossed a four-hitter for his second shutout of the season as the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 8-0 on Tuesday.

"He had everything working," manager Don Mattingly said of his ace.

Kershaw (7-5) kept the Rockies off balance all night, even top hitter Michael Cuddyer, who had his franchise-record 27-game hitting streak halted after going hitless in four plate appearances. Cuddyer flied out to Puig in right to end the game.

"If it was going to end, might as well end against the best pitcher in the league," Cuddyer said. "He pitched really well. He was tough tonight."

So tough that he allowed just one runner to get to second all evening. The hard-throwing Kershaw had eight strikeouts and walked none.

"I had pretty good fastball command tonight," he nonchalantly said.

Asked about the offence and his face lit up as he pedaled on the exercise bike after the game.

"It's awesome," Kershaw said. "It's a tough lineup right now to get through. Puig's on another planet. You keep thinking he can't keep this up, not just singles, he's been hitting the ball really hard everywhere. I've been really, really impressed."

It's hard not to be. The 22-year-old Puig had three more hits, including a solo homer, to raise his average to .443 this season.

"Whatever league that I'm in I'm going to do the best I can," he said through a translator. "I'm going to play wherever they ask me to play."

Roy Oswalt (0-3) was roughed up in his first start at Coors Field this season. He allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings. Part of that, he explained, had to do with simply being too fine.

"Trying to throw that nine-inning shutout with 70 pitches, instead of being aggressive like I've always been," Oswalt said.

Adrian Gonzalez broke open the game with a two-run homer in the third and Juan Uribe added a pair of RBI singles. Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the second.

Kershaw found himself in a rather unfamiliar position -- with a big early lead. He entered the game with the second-lowest run support of any NL starter.

But the Dodgers gave Kershaw an early four-run cushion, more than enough for him. It was Kershaw's third complete game of the season and second shutout. He held the San Francisco Giants without a run in his first start of the season on April 1.

Kershaw might have had the play of the game against the Rockies -- or at least the most comical -- when he lost his glove trying to field a bunt.

No matter, he picked it up barehanded and threw out Josh Rutledge.

"He had his 'A' game, no question," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It was going to be tough to score off of him. He was at the top of his game and when he is, you have to scratch and claw for everything."

The fans showed up early to watch Puig send one monster shot after another into the stands during batting practice.

Puig was even more impressive once the game began.

These days, it's hard not to take notice of Puig. His 44 hits in June were a Dodgers rookie record for a month.

He carried it over into July with a single in the first and a double off the right-field scoreboard in the third. After taking a called third strike, Puig sent a pitch from reliever Adam Ottavino over the fence in the deepest part of the park for his eighth homer this season.

Puig wasn't done there. He also made a running catch in foul territory, veering right for the seats before suddenly turning to avoid a collision. He then trotted into the dugout as if it were just another routine play.

"Exciting player. Big guy with a lot of athleticism," Weiss said before the game. "Brought a lot of excitement to that club."

The same can be said of Cuddyer, who failed to get a hit for the first time since May 27. His streak was the longest in the majors this season.

Cuddyer didn't reach base, either, bringing his streak of 46 straight games with a hit, walk or being plunked by a pitch to an end.

"I'm proud of (the streak)," Cuddyer said. "It's a long time, longer than I've ever gone."

His first order of business now that it's over?

"Definitely going to get a haircut," said Cuddyer, who also grew a scruffy beard.

Cuddyer couldn't even begin to fathom hitting in 56 straight like Joe DiMaggio.

"That's ridiculous," he said. "It's one of those records, for me, that's unattainable.

"You just enjoy the ride as long as you can."

NOTES: The Dodgers acquired former All-Star reliever Carlos Marmol from the Chicago Cubs for RHP Matt Guerrier. ... Colorado placed OF Dexter Fowler (bruised right hand) on the 15-day disabled list. The move is retroactive to June 26. ... Backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba had two hits off Kershaw.

Yasiel Puig  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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