LOS ANGELES (AP) — The first-place Dodgers have staged plenty of comebacks this season. Just not after seven innings.
They snapped an 0-for-46 skid with two runs in the eighth and Clayton Kershaw outdueled Tyson Ross for a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.
“We need wins no matter what,” said Kershaw, whose team is 3 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco. “The Giants are playing better right now.”
Kershaw (15-3) allowed one run and three hits in eight innings, striking out 10 and walking two. He tied Johnny Cueto, Wily Peralta and Adam Wainwright for the major league lead in victories. The left-hander was originally scheduled to start Friday, but he was moved up to give Zack Greinke extra rest for his sore elbow.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody like this guy,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Tomorrow will be on to the next one and he’ll be on a mission for that. A huge competitor.”
Pitching on regular rest after Monday’s day off, Kershaw bounced back from losing his previous start against Milwaukee after winning his 11 previous decisions. The two-time Cy Young Award winner retired 12 in a row before giving up his first hit — a single by Ross — with two outs in the sixth.
“My command was lacking the first couple of innings, but I was able to keep the pitch count down,” Kershaw said.
Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth to earn his 36th save.
Ross (11-12) held his own against Kershaw, retiring 12 straight after giving up his second hit in the third. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings, struck out eight and walked two.
“You want to be out there battling the other guy and putting up zeroes and pitching deep into games,” Ross said. “Kershaw’s having an MVP-type year, and he was just a little better.”
Carl Crawford reached on an infield single to the mound leading off the eighth and Turner followed with his fourth homer into the left-field pavilion, putting the Dodgers ahead 2-1.
“That was one of the most exciting moments of my career,” Turner said. “We just try to pull together. Carl puts together a good at-bat. I caught a mistake off Ross.”
Ross said, “It was just a hung slider and he put a good swing on it. Unfortunately, there was a guy on first base and it was enough to take the lead rather than just be tied up.”
Turner was 2 for 3 and is batting .362 with eight RBIs and eight runs scored in 17 games this month.
The Padres led 1-0 on Rene Rivera’s RBI single in the seventh.
Los Angeles took two out of three against San Diego, and has won its last eight series against NL West opponents. Kershaw beat the Padres for the fourth consecutive time and improved to 11-6 against them in his career.
They are 20-12 against the Padres since the start of last season, with an 8-1-1 series record.
Ross fell to 0-4 against the Dodgers in his last five starts while receiving a combined three runs of support. He has a 2.67 ERA against them. “He’s been pitching lights-out,” Kershaw said. “He doesn’t give much. His slider-fastball combination is pretty unbelievable.”
Padres: Closer Joaquin Benoit had been bothered by shoulder problems, but he will avoid a DL stint. Manager Bud Black said Benoit could return Friday if he’s feeling as good as he was on Thursday; if not, he will be ready on Saturday.
Dodgers: Mattingly said he believes Greinke’s elbow isn’t going to be a long-term problem. Infielder Juan Uribe, on the DL with a right hamstring strain, has resumed baseball activities. Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, on the DL with a right oblique strain, is doing well.
Padres: Odrisamer Despaigne (11-11, 2.70 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Arizona. He made seven minor league starts after signing with the team on May 2. Despaigne is the second Cuban-born pitcher to appear in a game for the Padres and the first to make a start.
Dodgers: Struggling Dan Haren (10-10, 4.59) takes the mound in the series opener against the Mets. Last weekend, he allowed six runs on five hits in three innings in a 7-2 loss to Milwaukee.
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