LOS ANGELES (AP) – Clayton Kershaw followed up his sensational one-man show on opening day with seven innings of two-hit ball and nine strikeouts in a spirited duel with A.J. Burnett, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Pittsburgh 1-0 Saturday night for their second straight shutout win over the Pirates.
Kershaw (2-0) walked one and retired 17 consecutive batters after giving up a leadoff single in the first inning to Starling Marte. Last Monday, the 2011 Cy Young Award winner threw a four-hitter against the World Series champion Giants and broke a scoreless tie with his first major league home run.
Kershaw’s latest gem came one night after Zack Greinke held the Bucs to two hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 3-0 victory.
Brandon League followed Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen out of the bullpen and pitched a hitless ninth for his second save.
Burnett (0-2) was charged with a run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, walked four and struck out nine – including Matt Kemp all three times he faced him.
The right-hander, returning to the ballpark where he won his major league debut in 1999 with the Marlins, was coming off a 10-strikeout, 3-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs in the Pirates’ opener.
Burnett is 1-7 with a 3.04 ERA over his last nine starts since the beginning of last September, receiving fewer than three runs of support in eight of them — and the Pirates have been shut out four times during that stretch.
Carl Crawford drew a leadoff walk in the Dodgers’ first and stole second, but was stranded there as Burkett struck out Mark Ellis, Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez. Crawford stole second again after his two-out single in the third, and Ellis drove him in with a ground single through the left side.
The Dodgers have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Pirates and eight straight in Los Angeles. The only loss came in their final meeting of last season, when Garrett Jones hit a pair of three-run homers in support of Burnett’s 10-6 victory.
The Pirates haven’t hit a home run through their first five games — tying the 1998 and 1967 squads for the club’s longest drought from the start of a season since the middle of World War II (11 games in 1943). That year they hit only two in their first 26 contests.
Kemp has struck out five times in five official career at-bats against Burnett, and has walked twice. He grounded into an inning-ending double play with two on in the seventh against Mark Melancon, and is off to a 1-for-18 start. ... Kershaw, who has made 151 regular-season starts, posted consecutive complete games only once. That was June 20-26 at Dodger Stadium, when he threw 112 pitches in a two-hit, 4-0 victory over Detroit and then used 114 pitches to beat the Angels 3-2. He struck out 11 in both games, then fanned 10 Angels six nights later in a 7-1 loss at Anaheim. ... Entering this start, Burnett had allowed as many hits as he had strikeouts (1,981). ... Kershaw’s first three pitches were put in play. Marte singled, was bunted to second by Neil Walker and got thrown out at third by shortstop Justin Sellers on Andrew McCutchen’s fielder’s choice grounder. Gaby Sanchez ended the six-pitch inning with a flyball. ... The Pirates lost three times by 1-0 scores last season and were shut out 15 times altogether.