Clayton Kershaw uses slider to smother Blue Jays

Saturday marked the first time that Clayton Kershaw faced the Toronto Blue Jays. Based on what he did, they won’t be looking forward to the next time.

Kershaw continued his stretch of dominance by striking out 10 and walking none in seven innings in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 6-2 win at Rogers Centre.

For the fourth game in a row, Kershaw struck out 10 or more batters and walked one or none. He is the second pitcher in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to pitch at least four consecutive games with those numbers. The first was Stephen Strasburg, who had four such games in succession last September.

Disregarding Kershaw’s accuracy and looking just at his strikeout numbers, the four games in a row with 10 or more strikeouts is the longest such streak in 2016. It is also the longest of Kershaw’s career and the longest by a Dodgers pitcher since Hideo Nomo in 1995.

The key pitch

Nine of Kershaw's 10 strikeouts came with his slider. That's the most on his slider since June 20, 2011, when he had 10 strikeouts with the pitch against the Detroit Tigers. The 10 were four more than his previous season high, which came in his previous start Sunday against the San Diego Padres.

The nine strikeouts with his slider are tied for most on that pitch this season. Chris Sale also had that many on April 3 in the Chicago White Sox's opening game.

Of Kershaw’s 112 pitches Saturday, a season-high 44 were sliders (39 percent). In 15 at-bats ending with the pitch, the Blue Jays got two hits.

Kershaw has thrown 231 sliders this season, most in the National League and third in the major leagues behind Chris Young (284) and Chris Archer (237). Among NL pitchers who have thrown at least 300 pitches this season, Kershaw ranks fourth in the percentage of sliders thrown. The NL leader is Kershaw’s teammate, Kenta Maeda.

In his past six road starts against American League teams, Kershaw is 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA. He has struck out 50 and walked seven in 45 innings pitched in those games.

Mitigating damage

Kershaw gave up eight hits. Three of them were with two outs. His defense made three double plays -- a season high for the Dodgers -- to further limit the Blue Jays’ threats.

Pederson goes deep

In the second inning, the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson hit a home run that was calculated at 449 feet. The past two seasons, Pederson's home runs have averaged 422.2 feet, the longest in baseball among hitters with at least 20 home runs.

Second is Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, whose 490-foot shot Friday increased his average distance to 419.4 feet.