LOS ANGELES -- Mike Trout got the better of Clayton Kershaw in the two Southern California superstars' first regular-season head-to-head meeting, going 2-for-3. But Kershaw got the last laugh: He straightened out a rough outing and his Los Angeles Dodgers beat Trout's Los Angeles Angels 5-4 in front of more than 53,000 fans at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.
Kershaw didn't pick up his 14th win, because Brian Wilson gave up an Albert Pujols home run the eighth inning. But the Dodgers won it in the bottom of the ninth when pinch hitter Andre Ethier slapped a ground ball to David Freese and Juan Uribe dislodged the ball from Chris Iannetta's mitt to score the winning run.
That evened the Freeway Series at one game each and gave the Dodgers a 2½-game lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
How it happened: Kershaw was susceptible early and the Angels scored three runs on him in the first three innings, but his command showed up in the fourth and after that he was as dominant as usual. Trout had an infield single and a double off Kershaw, but Kershaw also struck him out on three pitches in the fifth. Six of Kershaw's seven strikeouts came in the fourth through seventh innings. Matt Kemp manufactured the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, reaching on an error, stealing second and going to third when Iannetta's throw trickled into center field. Kemp scored on Scott Van Slyke's sacrifice fly.
Hits: Uribe has a knack for the momentum-changing home run. He doesn't go deep often, but when he does, it usually means something. After a poor performance the night before, the Dodgers were in an early 2-0 hole when Uribe stepped to the plate in the second inning. He caught a hanging curveball and hit a towering drive well into the bleachers in left-center field to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. Uribe, 35, looks like a nice re-sign by Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti despite his advancing years. He's still playing good defense and batting .299. The home run was his first since July 8.
Misses: Adrian Gonzalez, who slumped through May and June, had a solid July, managing to drive in 21 runs despite hitting only two home runs. He batted .293. The Dodgers' No. 3 hitter has had a sluggish start to August, going 1-for-13. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly likes Gonzalez in the 3-hole because it gives him nearly ideal left-right balance in the top half of the lineup, but Gonzalez has performed more like a No. 5-type hitter most of this season. He continues to drive in runs, but he's getting on base at a low rate (.325).
Stat of the game: Since 1900, only two pitchers have ever completed a season with a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than the 10.00 mark that Kershaw had coming into the game: Brett Saberhagen (11.00) in 1994 and Cliff Lee (10.28) in 2010. Kershaw walked two batters and his ratio fell to 9.23, which is still well ahead of Sandy Koufax's best mark, 5.38 from 1965, the best for a Dodger until this season.