Kershaw held the Angels without a hit until the fifth inning, when Anthony Rendon made the first one count, leading off the frame with a home run down the left field line, cutting the Halos’ deficit to 2-1. It’s the fourth straight game with a home run for Rendon, the longest streak of his career.
Rendon is one away from the franchise record of five straight games with a home run, set by Bobby Bonds from August 2-7, 1977.
Rendon also walked twice more, giving him an absurd .556 on-base percentage so far on the homestand, and .425 on the season.
But Rendon was the only Angels batter to reach base against Kershaw in seven innings. The rest of the lineup was 0-for-20 with six strikeouts.
Going deeper, at least
Patrick Sandoval established a career long for a second straight start, this time pitching into the seventh, fulfilling manager Joe Maddon’s pregame wish for his starters to pitch deeper into games.
But once again, Sandoval had little to show for it. Just like last Saturday in Texas, when Joey Gallo hit a two-run home run in the sixth sent the Angels to a loss, a sixth inning long ball doomed Sandoval in this one. Cody Bellinger got him this time, a two-run shot that expanded the Dodgers’ lead.
Other than the home run, Sandoval kept the ball on the grass most of the night, inducing 10 ground ball outs to go with his five strikeouts. He also allowed two runs in the third inning, a rally that was buttressed by an error by Anthony Rendon on yet another ground ball, this one a potential double play.
“He makes that play 11 times out of 10,” Maddon said of Rendon.
Sandoval induced a season-high 13 swinging strikes, including seven on his slider, and finished off three of his five strikeouts with the pitch, per Baseball Savant. He started the seventh inning too, but allowed a double to Edwin Rios, the leadoff batter, and was pulled. Rios later scored, another run charged to Sandoval’s tally.
Bellinger, who entered the game hitting just .165/.224/.266, added another two-run home run off Ryan Buchter in the eighth inning, doubling his season total, extending the Dodgers lead. Both home runs the southpaw Buchter has allowed this season have been hit by left-handed batters.
Once Kershaw was out of the game, the Angels rallied for a pair of runs in the eighth inning and another in the ninth, but it was too little, too late. The Angels got the Dodgers to use closer Kenley Jansen for the final out in a game that was 7-1 starting the eighth inning, so that was something, at least.
Home runs: Anthony Rendon (5); Cody Bellinger 2 (4)
WP — Clayton Kershaw (2-1): 7 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP — Patrick Sandoval (0-2): 6+ IP, 6 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv — Kenley Jansen (5): ⅓ IP, 1 strikeout
Andrew Heaney gets the call on Saturday night (6:40 p.m.; Fox Sports West, SportsNet LA, MLB Network), facing off with Walker Buehler for the Dodgers.