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Kershaw goes 8 innings, becomes majors' 1st 16-game winner

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PHOENIX — It's almost September and Clayton Kershaw loaded the bases for the first time all season.

Of course, nobody scored.

Kershaw allowed only an unearned run in eight innings to become the first 16-game winner in the majors, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 on Wednesday night.

Kershaw (16-3) allowed six hits, retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he faced, seven by strikeout, to improve to 13-1 in his last 16 starts.

The left-handed ace struck out 10 and walked two.

Kershaw was unaware he hadn't faced a bases-loaded situation all year.

"I blew that streak I guess," he said.

His teammates didn't know about it either.

"A pretty shocking stat," Scott Van Slyke said, "but not really."

Manager Don Mattingly called it a surprising fact, then added "but nothing surprises me about him anymore."

Kershaw leads the majors in wins despite spending five weeks on the disabled list.

"Wins are a team thing," he said.

Van Slyke hit a solo home run off Wade Miley (7-10) before leaving the game with an ankle injury in the fourth inning. Matt Kemp had a two-run double.

Kenley Janzen pitched a perfect ninth for his 38th save in 42 tries.

The Dodgers, sweeping the two-game series, climbed to a season-high 18 games above .500.

Kershaw reached double digit strikeouts for the third straight outing and his major league best ERA dropped to 1.73.

"It is kind of hard to describe unless you are up there," Arizona's Mark Trumbo said, "but his heater plays as hard as anyone you will see, even though velocity-wise it isn't as hard. It is everything. It is his curveball when he gets on top of it. It starts way up there and goes way down, but everything is set up by his fastball."

And Kershaw was nowhere near his best, at least early on.

"It was a bad start, really," he said. "I felt guys were on base all night. You know, working in and out of jams, which is never fun to do. But I was fortunate to get some outs when I needed them. After about the fourth or fifth I settled in a little bit and was able to make it to eight."

That bases-loaded situation came with one out in the third, but Aaron Hill popped out and Trumbo struck out.

PHOTO: Los Angeles Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke (33) shakes hands with teammate Justin Turner (10) after Van Slyke's home run as Arizona Diamondbacks' Tuffy Gosewisch, right, looks on during the third inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Los Angeles Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke (33) shakes hands with teammate Justin Turner (10) after Van Slyke's home run as Arizona Diamondbacks' Tuffy Gosewisch, right, looks on during the third inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Diamondbacks' Ender Inciarte tripled to lead off the fifth, then Kershaw retired the next 11 before Trumbo's two-out single in the eighth. Kershaw ended his night by striking out Alfredo Marte to end the eighth.

Los Angeles scored all three runs in the third.

Kemp doubled in two runs but was out by a considerable margin trying to stretch it to a triple. On Miley's next pitch, Van Slyke homered just over the left field wall. Van Slyke is 8 for 18 with five home runs against Miley this season.

Arizona's Marte doubled down the left field line to lead off the fourth. Jordan Pacheco followed with a single to left. Van Slyke fielded the ball and launched what should have been a routine throw back to the infield.

But he rolled his ankle as he threw, and the ball fluttered away, allowing the unearned run to score.

Mattingly said X-rays were negative and he didn't expect Van Slyke to be out more than a few days.

SQUANDERED OPPORTUNITIES

Hill and Trumbo, the No. 3 and No. 4 hitters in the Arizona lineup, each stranded five runners on base, four of them in scoring position. They were a combined 1-for-8.

"It stinks," Trumbo said.

BAD GRASS

Van Slyke said the ground gave way beneath his ankle as he planted to throw.

"They've got bad grass here," he said.

Television replays showed that Van Slyke's ankle bent to almost a 45-degree ankle, but he was able to walk off the field.

"That side of my ankle's loose, so I think it will be all right,' he said. "I think it just went further than It normally does."

A LOT BETTER THIS TIME

Kershaw had his only truly bad outing of the season in his last appearance in Arizona. On May 5, he lasted just 1 2-3 innings, allowing a season-worst seven runs in the Diamondbacks' 18-7 rout.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: 1B Adrian Gonzalez had the night off with a stiff back. ... LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, hip strain, pitched a simulated game Wednesday and is expected to rejoin the rotation Sunday or Monday.

Diamondacks: RHP Daniel Hudson, recovering from two Tommy John surgeries, pitched a perfect inning at Triple-A Reno Wednesday night.

ON DECK

Dodgers: Los Angeles has Thursday off before opening a three-game series at San Diego. Dan Haren (11-10, 4.44 ERA) goes for the Dodgers against Andrew Cashner (2-6, 2.43).

Diamondbacks: Arizona is off Thursday before beginning a three-game series against Colorado in a matchup of the teams with the two worst records in the National League.

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PHOTO: Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw sits in the dugout with his pitching arm wrapped in towels during the third inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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