published Friday, August 1st, 2014

Dodgers beat Braves 2-1 on Kershaw's 9-hitter

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig, left, scores on a double by Adrian Gonzalez as Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis takes a late throw during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig, left, scores on a double by Adrian Gonzalez as Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis takes a late throw during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw would have welcomed a little help from the umpires in the ninth inning, if only to end the game a bit sooner. When he didn't get it, the Dodgers' ace finished off the Braves on his own.

He scattered nine hits and struck out nine while tying his career-best winning streak of 10 games in a 2-1 victory Thursday night that completed Los Angeles' three-game sweep of Atlanta.

"Fortunately for us a lot of times he comes out on top," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "He's an amazing talent who is just as strong in the ninth as he is in the first. There's no drop-off ever. We're spoiled rotten."

Kershaw (13-2) notched his second consecutive complete game for the second time in his career following his three-hit shutout at San Francisco last weekend. He is unbeaten in his last 11 starts with a 10-0 record since June 2. The left-hander beat the Braves for the first time during the regular season in his career.

"You want to be the same from the first inning to the ninth," Kershaw said. "I got hurt this year at the beginning, but now I feel pretty strong."

Kershaw had to work to close out the Braves in the ninth, when he finally gave up a run. With one out, B.J. Upton singled and advanced to third on Tommy La Stella's single. Freddie Freeman went down swinging for the second out, bringing the cheering crowd of 51,163 to its feet.

But the Braves closed to 2-1 on Justin Upton's infield single to third.

Juan Uribe charged to field the ball and fired to first, where Adrian Gonzalez stretched for the throw. Upton was called safe by umpire Mike Estabrook. Manager Don Mattingly challenged the call as the crowd grew rowdier. Kershaw crouched behind the mound waiting for a decision.

It took 2 1-2 minutes before the umpires upheld the call, putting the potential go-ahead run on first. Evan Gattis grounded out to shortstop to end the game.

"It looked really close. The umpire got it right," Kershaw said. "It would have been nice to get that overturned."

Yasiel Puig homered as the Dodgers stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games and swept the Braves for the first time since taking four in a row from July 26-29, 1990, at home. The Dodgers, who turned three double plays, moved a season-best 3½ games ahead of the idle Giants in the NL West.

Julio Teheran (10-7) dueled with Kershaw, but fell behind in the first. Puig walked and scored from first when Gonzalez doubled to deep right-center field.

"I had my best and everything was working, but I made a couple of mistakes and they got two runs," Teheran said. "It was fun (pitching against Kershaw). I know it's not that easy to face him, but we had a real battle out there."

Puig extended the lead to 2-0 with his 13th homer in the third.

Teheran gave up five hits in eight innings. He struck out nine and walked three in his third complete game of the season and his first loss.

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