Everything has fallen into place nicely for the Dodgers (67-50) during this stretch that commenced on June 22, and has seen the club put together a 37-8 record, and 20-3 since the All-Star break after sweeping Tampa Bay at the Stadium this past weekend.
The Dodgers toyed with the Rays behind Clayton Kershaw’s three-hitter with eight strikeouts, two walks and two runs (one earned) over eight innings, prevailing 8-2 on Sunday, and Kershaw (11-7) drove in two runs with a single in the second inning. “I threw more of them [curveballs],’’ said Kershaw. “I bounced a lot of them.”
Mark Ellis (three hits) added an RBI single in the same frame, and later drilled a two-run homer in the sixth. A.J. Ellis’ sacrifice fly in the third made it 4-0, and Adrian Gonzalez’s two-run double in the fourth gave the Dodgers a 6-1 edge.
Zack Greinke and Gonzalez (two hits and a run) had a major hand in Saturday’s 5-0 shutout versus Tampa Bay as Greinke (10-3) worked six and one-third innings, allowing six hits, and no runs, striking out seven and walking one.
“They do a lot of righty-lefty matchups,’’ said Greinke of the Rays lineup. “Today was pretty solid baseball all around.”
Gonzalez’s two-run homer (16th) in the first inning set the offense in motion, Nick Punto’s two-run hit in the third made it 4-0, and it swelled to 5-0 on A.J. Ellis’ scoring fly in the fourth. Skip Schumaker added four hits in four at-bats.
A four-run ninth gave the Dodgers a 7-6 decision over the Rays on Friday as Mark Ellis (three hits) with an RBI and two runs scored, while Punto, Yasiel Puig, Juan Uribe and Schumaker, all had two hits and an RBI.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-3) covered seven innings, gave up five hits and one run (unearned), walking none and fanning seven, while A.J. Ellis’ three-run blast in the fifth helped the Dodgers race past host St. Louis, 5-1 on Thursday.
Andre Ethier and Schumaker each had three hits with four RBIs, and Carl Crawford (four hits) scored two runs and drove in a run as the Dodgers throttled the Cardinals, 13-4, on Wednesday.
The Red Birds pushed around four Dodgers pitchers and were 5-1 victors on Tuesday as Carlos Beltran (two hits) rapped a solo homer (20th).
Greinke scattered eight hits and yielded two runs (earned) across six and one-third innings in a 3-2 win by the Dodgers over St. Louis on Monday.