The young (22) Clayton Kershaw improved to 4-2 with his third straight win, working into the eighth inning and allowing seven hits while striking out the same number. He has given up no more than two runs in seven of his last eight starts.
And more important than the strikeouts, he only walked two Padres batters while lowering his ERA to 3.23. He walked 15 in his first three starts of the season and the Dodgers are now 6-3 in his nine starts.
Kershaw has worked 7.0 or more innings over three consecutive starts for the first time in his career, going 3-0 and limiting opponents to a .162 average with 23 strikeouts and a 0.81 ERA since allowing seven runs in just 1.1 innings against the Brewers on May 4 and the Dodgers have won 12 of their last 15 games.
He has pitched at least 7.0 innings and registered at least seven strikeouts while allowing as few as one run and three hits in each of his last three starts. Only four other Dodgers pitchers since 1900 have done that in consecutive starts in a single season: Sandy Koufax in 1961, Don Sutton in 1972, Orel Hershiser in 1984 and Chan Ho Park in 2000.
Manager Joe Torre was lavish in his praise. "He doesn't get flustered. He gets a little irritated with himself sometimes -- like when he threw a hanging curve ball on 0-2 and gave up a hit to Kevin Correia. But anything else that happens around him, he really holds it together. He's got a pretty good way about him and he's all business out there. It's like going to the office for him."
Jamey Carroll, who never dreamed he would see so much action when he signed with the Dodgers in the off-season. He's started 22 straight games since Rafael Furcal went down with a strained hamstring and in the month of May he has perfected his Honus Wagner impression.
The 36-year-old has hit .325 during the month of May, knocked in 10 runs (including two last night) and recorded a .394 on-base percentage. It was his seventh multi-hit game and second multi-RBI game and has been instrumental in helping the club record a 15-7 record since Furcal went down.
The Dodgers finished with nine hits, one for each of the first seven batters in the lineup and two for Carroll.
Russell Martin went 1-for-3 to extend his career-long hitting streak to 15 games, batting .305 in that span. It's the longest active hitting streak in the Majors and the longest for a Dodger since Orlando Hudson hit safely in 17 straight games from May 9-27, last year.
The Dodgers have gone seven consecutive games without committing an error, their longest streak since an eight-game errorless stretch from August 8-17, 2009.
Ron Belisario and Jonathan Broxton closed out the game.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the in the second on Carroll's sacrifice fly. The Padres tied it in the third when Will Venable rolled a single up the middle past a drawn-in infield to drive in Everth Cabrera who had doubled.
Los Angeles tied things up in the bottom of the inning when Casey Blake singled, moved to third on Blake DeWitt's double down the right field line and scored on Carroll's sacrifice fly.
Kershaw picked off Chris Denorfia to end the sixth inning for his fourth pickoff of the year. That ranks him second in the National League in that category.
Matt Kemp led off the Dodgers' three-run sixth inning by dropping a broken-bat single into left field and moving to second on Correia's wild pickoff attempt. James Loney singled to put runners at the corners, and Kemp scored on Garret Anderson's sacrifice fly. After Blake was walked intentionally to load the bases, Carroll singled for one run and DeWitt scored on a wild pitch.
"I wasn't really looking forward throwing to Carroll in that situation because he's a guy who can do something like that," Correia said. "I made a good pitch and he didn't hit it well. I'm not a big fan of the guy at the moment. He's killed me in my last two starts. Every time he's gone up there, he's done what he needed to do."
Kershaw hit 106 pitches in the seventh inning and Ron Belisario struck out the final two Padres in the inning. Broxton worked around a single to record his eighth save of the season, moving him into eighth place on the Los Angeles saves chart and into ninth on the all-time list, one behind Tom Niedenfuer.
The Dodgers split their first series of the year and ran their series record to 7-6-1. Los Angeles improved to 13-7 at home, 14-4 in May and 13-4 against NL West opponents, the best divisional record in the National League.
National League West Standings w-l gb San Diego 24-17 -- Los Angeles 23-18 1.0 San Francisco 22-18 1.5 Colorado 20-21 4.0 Arizona 18-24 6.5Dodger Blue Notes --The Dodgers and Padres won't meet again until July 27 in San Diego. ...Over the past eight seasons, the Dodgers have had more lengthy winning streaks than anyone else in the big leagues (9), followed by the New York Yankees (8), Chicago White Sox (7) and the Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota )6). ...Russell Martin has started 22 consecutive games beginning April 27 and currently leads the Major Leagues in total chances and putouts behind the dish. Martin's 323.2 innings behind the plate rank second in the National League behind Yadier Molina's 329.0. ...Reliever Carlos Monasterios worked three scoreless innings in the first game of the series and is 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA in 11 games (1 start) and has limited opposing batters to a .233 average. The native of Venezuela has tossed 5.0 consecutive scoreless innings and has never given up more than one run in any outing this year. ...The annual Dodgers Dream Foundation Charity Golf Invitational will be played June 10. Several Dodger players and coaches will attend, along with Dodger legends including Maury Wills, Fernando Valenzuela, Eric Karros, Tommy Davis, Bill Russell, Steve Yeager, Todd Zeile, Jose Lima, Bob Welch, "Sweet" Lou Johnson and Kenny Landreaux....On this day in 1972, the quickest game ever at Dodger Stadium was played in a lightning fast one hour, 30 minutes, thanks to Al Downing's two-hit shutout over the Astros. The Dodgers' fastest game this season was two hours, 18 minutes on Sunday at San Diego.
Tigers, Oh, My!
The Detroit Tigers come to town tonight in the first interleague series of the season. Probable starters include:
Tonight, LHP Dontrelle Willis (1-1, 4.68) vs. RHP Chad Billingsley (4-2, 4.03)
Saturday, RHP Armando Galarraga (1-0, 1.59) vs. RHP John Ely (2-1, 3.51)
Sunday, RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.93) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (5-1, 2.87).