Clayton Kershaw knew he had his work cut out for him, matched against a pitcher with a 6-0 record and major league-leading 0.83 ERA.
Fortunately for the Dodgers’ lefthander, he was quite fresh after throwing only 57 pitches his last time out.
Kershaw bounced back from the shortest start of his brief career with eight innings of two-hit ball, leading the Dodgers to a 2-0 victory over Ubaldo Jimenez and the Rockies yesterday in Los Angeles.
“You can’t give that team any runs with him pitching, so I knew I had to put some zeroes up there,’’ said Kershaw, who retired only four of the 13 batters he faced last Tuesday against Milwaukee.
Kershaw (2-2) struck out nine and held the Rockies to a pair of infield hits — including a bunt single by cleanup hitter Troy Tulowitzki — and picked off Eric Young after walking him with two outs in the fifth. He needed 30 pitches to get out of a scoreless first, which ended when Ian Stewart took a called third strike with the bases loaded.
“Any time you have Kershaw on the hook and have guys on base, you want to make the most of it because his stuff is so good,’’ Tulowitzki said.
Jimenez (6-1) gave up only two hits over seven innings before he was lifted for a pinch hitter. The only run against the Colorado starter came in the third, when Blake DeWitt led off with a double and scored on a single by Jamey Carroll that deflected off Jimenez’s glove and into right field.
Jimenez walked four and struck out five. The righthander was trying to become the first Rockies pitcher to get off to a 7-0 start.
Russell Martin homered with two outs in the eighth against Matt Daley.
Giants 6, Mets 5 — A go-ahead two-run homer by Aaron Rowand in the eighth and a five-out, five-strikeout save by Brian Wilson enabled San Francisco to end New York’s nine-game home win streak.
The Mets rallied from a 4-2 deficit after Giants ace Tim Lincecum departed, with Jason Bay tying the game on a two-run single and David Wright hitting a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Lincecum got his third straight no-decision after leaving with the lead.
Cardinals 11, Pirates 4 — One day after getting shut out in Pittsburgh, St. Louis batted around in two innings in support of Adam Wainwright (5-1). Yadier Molina had a two-run single during a five-run sixth.
Astros 4, Padres 3 — Hunter Pence hit an RBI double in the 11th for host Houston, which trailed, 3-0, but tied the game in the ninth on Pedro Feliz’s sacrifice fly.
Nationals 3, Marlins 2 — Josh Willingham broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth with a homer, and reliever Tyler Clippard improved to 6-0 — two more victories than any Washington starter.
Phillies 5, Braves 3 — Solo homers from Placido Polanco, Jayson Werth, and Shane Victorino propelled host Philadelphia, which got four perfect innings of relief after Cole Hamels (3-2) went five shaky innings.
Reds 5, Cubs 3 — Rookie Mike Leake (3-0) held visiting Chicago hitless into the sixth and Joey Votto clubbed a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh for Cincinnati.
Brewers 6, Diamondbacks 1 — Prince Fielder, Casey McGehee, and Gregg Zaun all went deep in Phoenix as Milwaukee won for the fifth time in six games.
Blue Jays 9, White Sox 7 — Toronto scored four runs in the top of the ninth to win for the ninth time in 11 games. Chicago closer Bobby Jenks (1-1) gave up a double to Travis Snider and a single to John Buck before Fred Lewis homered to right for an 8-7 lead.
Mariners 8, Angels 1 — Host Seattle broke its losing streak at eight games, with Josh Wilson and Michael Saunders hitting back-to-back homers during a four-run fourth. Jason Vargas (3-2) scattered four hits and allowed just an unearned run over 7 1/3 innings.
Twins 6, Orioles 0 — Minnesota earned a split of the four-game series at Target Field behind seven strong innings from Nick Blackburn (3-1).
Rangers 6, Royals 4 — Texas completed a four-game sweep at home as David Murphy drove in a pair of runs and Max Ramirez provided a go-ahead RBI double in the fifth.
Indians 7, Tigers 4 — Andy Marte drove in three runs, Mark Grudzielanek had two RBIs, and host Cleveland broke a 10-game losing streak against Detroit.