NEW YORK — Worried about the Los Angeles Dodgers and their inconsistent offense? Runs don’t matter if Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke aren’t allowing any.
Kershaw breezed through six perfectly easy innings against the worst-hitting team in baseball Thursday night, facing an especially meek New York Mets lineup that made a no-hitter seem more likely than not.
Not long after the left-hander realized that he was working on a perfect game to start the seventh inning, it was gone. Kershaw had to settle for a three-hit shutout, leading the Dodgers to a 3-0 victory over New York.
“Once the seventh inning rolls around, it’s time that it could be possible and didn’t last very long,” Kershaw said. “Not a whole lot of nerves. If you don’t do it, so what, but if you do, it’s pretty exciting.”
Kershaw (8-6) now has thrown 29 consecutive scoreless innings — 13 2-3 less than teammate Zack Greinke — and 11 career shutouts. He was perfect until Curtis Granderson lined a leadoff single in the seventh inning.
“Clayton is so competitive, in a healthy way, that he wants to show how good he is. And Zack, on the other end of it, doesn’t seem like, over the last couple years, he was really just wanting to go by the wayside, he was kind of showing all of us that he could pitch, too,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Greinke’s shutout streak is on hold while the Dodgers ace and his wife await the birth of their first child. He has pitched 43 2/3 scoreless innings, and was set to start Friday night against the Mets at Citi Field. He is approaching the big-league record of 59 straight scoreless innings set by Orel Hershiser in 1988 for the Dodgers.
Mattingly said before the game that Greinke had returned to Los Angeles early in the morning to join wife Emily. He received a call in his hotel room at 5 a.m. from Greinke, who caught a flight a couple of hours later.