LOS ANGELES—After Kenley Jansen became the L.A. Dodgers’ franchise leader with the 162nd save of his career, he made sure to compliment the pitcher whose dominance constantly puts him in position to slam the door.
Jansen thinks he wouldn’t be the pitcher he is without Clayton Kershaw—and the Dodgers’ ace feels the same about Jansen.
Kershaw yielded just six hits over seven dominant innings to earn his ninth victory in 10 starts as the Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 4-1 last night for their fourth-straight victory.
Kershaw (11-1) was content to direct all attention to Jansen, the undrafted free agent from Curacao who has become the most prolific closer in this venerable franchise’s history in less than six years.
Jansen earned his very first save by finishing up for Kershaw against the N.Y. Mets in July, 2010—and he broke the record by saving a Kershaw victory for the 33rd time.
“Every time Kershaw is pitching, I have a great chance to get in there,” Jansen noted.
“To get my first save with the Dodgers with him, and then to break the record with him, that’s awesome.”
With two strikeouts and a game-ending groundout, Jansen earned his 20th save in 23 chances this season—securing his fifth 20-save season.
His career total surged past the mark set by Eric Gagne, who called him with congratulations shortly afterwards.
Justin Turner homered and drove in two runs while Joc Pederson also homered in the Dodgers’ sixth win in seven games.
Washington scratched Stephen Strasburg about 80 minutes before game time due to an upper back strain, depriving Chavez Ravine of a tantalizing pitching matchup with Kershaw.
“We were looking forward to see it also,” said Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker.
“But we’ve got to do what’s best for the ball club and [Strasburg].”
An undaunted Kershaw still added eight strikeouts to his major league-leading 141, fanning Bryce Harper three times.
Kershaw didn’t walk a batter and got through a tricky seventh inning to remain unbeaten since May 1.
Late replacement Yusmeiro Petit (2-1) pitched six solid innings of five-hit ball in his first start for the NL East-leading Nationals, who now have lost three-straight.
Elsewhere in the NL, Arizona beat Philadelphia 3-1, Pittsburgh nipped San Francisco 1-0, Colorado downed Miami 5-3, and St. Louis edged Chicago 3-2.