LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw polished his All-Star credentials with 7 2/3 strong innings of five-hit ball, and Freddie Freeman delivered the tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh inning of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sixth straight victory, 4-2 over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night.
Kershaw (6-2) yielded one earned run, struck out 10 and didn’t walk a batter while pitching into the eighth inning for the first time this season. The eight-time All-Star looked eminently worthy of a ninth selection — and perhaps even his first career All-Star start — while shutting down the Cubs at Dodger Stadium, where the Midsummer Classic will be held in 10 days.
The full All-Star rosters will be revealed Sunday, and NL manager Brian Snitker will be under plenty of friendly pressure to give Kershaw his first All-Star start at Chavez Ravine.
But Kershaw trailed 2-1 in the seventh before Jake Lamb hit a tying homer for the Dodgers. Freeman then delivered his two-out single to right off Rowan Wick (1-5), capping an impressive rally for Los Angeles’ first lead of the night.
Will Smith had a tying RBI single in the sixth for the NL-leading Dodgers, who have won 10 of 11. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 15th save.
Marcus Stroman pitched four innings of two-hit ball in his first start since June 3 for the Cubs, who have lost three straight at Dodger Stadium. Patrick Wisdom doubled and scored the go-ahead run on Trea Turner’s throwing error in the seventh, but the Cubs’ bullpen again failed to shut down LA’s powerhouse lineup.
Kershaw struck out the side in the first and faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings, although Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Seiya Suzuki singled and eventually scored on Yan Gomes’ long fly.
Stroman was similarly sharp, yielding only two singles and a walk in his 59-pitch start. The veteran right-hander had been on the injured list since June 10 with right shoulder inflammation, joining fellow rotation members Wade Miley and Drew Smyly with early-June injuries that have sidelined the trio for a month.
The Dodgers got off to another slow offensive start, but they finally evened it against Scott Effross when Turner doubled and scored on a two-out single by Smith, who’s also hoping for his first All-Star nod.
Chicago went right back ahead when Turner fielded Nico Hoerner’s grounder to short with plenty of time to get Wisdom at home, but bounced the throw.
Kershaw got a standing ovation when he left after Max Muncy failed to handle Christopher Morel’s sharp two-out grounder to third.
LAMB’S A LION
Lamb, the journeyman outfielder who joined the Dodgers late last month, evened it by hitting a seventh-inning homer for the second consecutive night at Dodger Stadium.
Cubs: LHP Justin Steele went on the paternity list when Stroman was activated. … Cubs 2B Nick Madrigal (left groin strain) and 1B Frank Schwindel (lower back strain) continued their rehab assignments at Triple-A Iowa.
Dodgers: Reliever Reyes Moronta joined the taxi squad early in the day while the team checked out reliever Brusdar Graterol, who was ultimately pronounced healthy after leaving his appearance Thursday with side soreness.
Julio Urías (7-6, 2.57 ERA) will go after his fifth consecutive victory when he takes the mound for Los Angeles in the series finale. The Cubs haven’t announced their starter.
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