ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Clayton Kershaw took a shutout into the seventh inning in his first start at Tropicana Field and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 on Tuesday night.
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner (4-0) wound up allowing two runs, six hits, one walk and had eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers, with the National League’s best record at 32-17, have won six of seven.
Tampa Bay dropped two games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees and are 13-13 since April 19th when it lead the division by 5 1/2 games.
Kershaw had scattered four hits through six but was replaced by Pedro Baez with two on and one out in the seventh and Los Angeles up 6-0.
Baez departed after facing one batter when Willy Adames had an RBI infield single that bruised the reliever’s right upper leg. Baez needed assistance as he gingerly walked off the field.
The Rays then got within 6-3 on a run-scoring single by Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham’s RBI double off Scott Alexander.
Los Angeles has won 15 consecutive regular season games starter by Kershaw. The left-hander is the only pitcher to have three separate streaks of 13 or more games (13 in 2014 and 16 in 2017) since 1920.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first when Max Muncy had a bunt single and scored from first when right fielder Avisail Garcia misplayed Justin Turner’s single.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts had David Freese pinch-hit when left-hander Jalen Beeks replaced opener Hunter Wood (1-1) to begin the third.
Freese doubled, went to third on Muncy’s grounder and scored as the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead on Turner’s sacrifice fly.
Austin Barnes put the Dodgers ahead 3-0 on a fourth-inning RBI single.
Run-scoring singles by Kike Hernandez, Corey Seager and pinch-hitter Joc Pederson off Beeks made it 6-0 in the seventh.
Pederson added an RBI double during the ninth.
Tampa Bay pinch-hitter Kevin Kiermaier was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple leading off the eighth.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (right forearm strain) could resume playing catch next week. … INF Yandy Diaz (bruised left hand) didn’t play. … 3B Matt Duffy (strained left hamstring), who is also playing shortstop and outfield during his rehab assignment, joined Triple-A Durham, … C’s Mike Zunino (left quadriceps strain) and Michael Perez (right oblique strain) may start rehab assignments next week.
Dodgers LHP Julio Urías was reinstated Tuesday from administrative leave by Major League Baseball. He was placed on leave while MLB officials looked into his May 13 arrest for investigation of misdemeanor domestic battery.
Los Angeles RF Cody Bellinger went 1 for 3 with two walks and had his average drop from .405 to .404.
Dodgers LHP Rich Hill (1-1) will face an unannounced Rays reliever in Wednesday night’s finale of a two-game series.