LOS ANGELES (AP) - No one would have blamed Detroit manager Jim Leyland had he done a rain dance in the dugout with Clayton Kershaw dominating his team inning after inning.
The only other time the Tigers faced the Los Angeles Dodgers' 23-year-old left-hander back in 2008, he pitched four scoreless innings of two-hit ball at Detroit before a 47-minute rain delay ended his night. The Tigers won that game. But since it rarely rains in Southern California, the Tigers were forced to put up with Kershaw for nine innings Monday night.
He threw a two-hitter for his third career shutout and complete game, and Los Angeles resumed its interleague schedule with a 4-0 victory. It was the second straight shutout for the Dodgers, who beat Houston 1-0 on Sunday.
Kershaw (7-3) threw 112 pitches, tied a season high with 11 strikeouts and walked one in his second shutout of the season. He allowed a leadoff double in the third by Ryan Raburn and a one-out single in the fourth by Casper Wells.
``I felt good tonight. I was mixing speeds and getting some quick outs,' Kershaw said. ``I kept my pitch count down and stayed through nine. Strikeouts just happen. Some days you're going to get them and some days you're not.'
Kershaw is 5-0 with a 2.73 ERA in his last 10 starts, and has held opponents to fewer than three runs in seven of those outings.
``He's really good. He's a great kid and he has tremendous stuff, obviously,' said losing pitcher Brad Penny, whose final season with the Dodgers coincided with Kershaw's rookie campaign. ``I'd like to tell you I taught him everything.'
Kershaw drove in the final two runs with an eighth-inning single, then finished his shutout by striking out the side in the ninth. Leyland sent out an all-righty lineup against him, including switch-hitter Victor Martinez. But it was no use, as the Tigers got blanked for the third time this season.
``It's no secret that the guy throws the ball pretty good. That's why we had all righties in the lineup,' Martinez said. ``He was really aggressive and came right at us. He started with his fastball and then made his slider and changeup look really good. This guy threw the ball great tonight.'
Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch, who was born in nearby Santa Monica and lives in Los Angeles during the offseason, got the night off after batting .408 in his last 17 games with six homers and 13 RBIs. He had never faced Kershaw before, and Leyland wanted to keep it that way.
Kershaw had held left-handed batters to a .186 average entering the game.
``Boesch is swinging so good, I don't want to maybe get him in a little funk trying to face this guy tonight,' Leyland said.
Penny (5-6) gave up seven hits over six innings, struck out four and walked three. The two-time All-Star, who spent parts of five seasons with the Dodgers, is 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA over his last six starts after winning three straight. He is 8-14 with a 4.94 ERA during interleague play.
Penny's only other start at Chavez Ravine since leaving the Dodgers was on Sept. 19, 2009, with San Francisco, when he gave up three home runs - including a grand slam by Ronnie Belliard - in a 12-1 loss to Jon Garland.
``I'm feeling stronger,' Penny said. ``It took me a while to feel really good, after missing most of last year. But now I feel great. My stuff was sharp.'
Juan Uribe, a teammate of Penny's in San Francisco during the final month of the 2009 season, hit his fifth homer to left-center on a full count with one out in the first. That ended a drought of 31 games and 108 at_bats between home runs for the 11-year veteran, who hit a career-high 24 last season to help the Giants win a World Series title.
Dioner Navarro, making his second start behind the plate after Rod Barajas went on the disabled list Sunday, made it 2-0 with his double into the right-field corner after James Loney led off with a double for one of his three hits.
Andre Ethier followed with a single that ricocheted off Penny's left foot, but center fielder Austin Jackson robbed Matt Kemp of extra bases with a leaping catch a couple of feet from the wall.
The Tigers had the potential tying run at third base with one out in the third. Kershaw struck out Penny, and Raburn was picked off by Navarro with Jackson batting.
NOTES: Kershaw's 10 hits are the most among major league pitchers, one more than Carlos Zambrano and Daniel Hudson. The Dodgers staff has 23 hits already, matching last season's total. ... The Tigers will posthumously retire former manager Sparky Anderson's No. 11 jersey before next Sunday's game against Arizona. The Hall of Famer, who lived the final years of his life in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and died Nov. 4 at age 76, made his final visit to Dodger Stadium on May 22 last season when the Tigers were in town. ... Penny, whose next start will be his 300th in the major leagues, is pitching for his sixth team.
The Associated Press News Service
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