CINCINNATI (AP) — Clayton Kershaw pitched five sharp innings for his first win since June 27, Gavin Lux and Corey Seager each hit two-run homers and the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers beat the sliding Cincinnati Reds 8-5 Sunday.
Will Smith also homered as the Dodgers won for the eighth time in nine games. They began the afternoon two games behind San Francisco in the NL West.
The Reds lost their eighth straight series after starting the day two games in back of St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot.
Kershaw (10-7) allowed one run and three hits, striking out eight without a walk. He pitched in Cincinnati for the first time since 2013.
“It was great,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “I thought he was great all the way around. I’m a little biased, but I thought he got squeezed a little, but he was fantastic. Overall really in control. See him get through five with close to 75 pitches. It was perfect.”
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner missed more than two months with inflammation in his left elbow, then returned Monday and threw 4 1/3 solid innings against Arizona. He threw 74 pitches.
“I felt a little more crisp with each pitch,” Kershaw said. “I’ve still got a little ways to go with my stamina. I got up to, I think, 75 pitches, but we still have a couple more (starts) before the playoffs.”
The only Reds run against him came when Nick Castellanos doubled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Tyler Stephenson’s groundout in the fourth that made it 6-1.
Lux, who missed Friday’s game with a right forearm contusion, had three hits and drove in three runs. He hit a two-run triple Saturday in a 5-1 win.
“We’ve needed it a ton,” Roberts said. “He’s in a good spot mechanically. His approach to each pitcher and his work with hitting coaches is very sound and consistent.”
Wade Miley (12-7) continued to struggle, allowing six runs and nine hits in a season-low three innings. The left-hander, who pitched a no-hitter on May 7 at Cleveland, has been roughed up for 19 hits and 12 runs, 11 earned, in 7 1-3 innings over his last two starts.
“I made a pretty good pitch to Smith I thought,” Miley said. “I’m just not finishing pitches. I haven’t figured it out yet. It’s not good. Guys know what I’m going to do. It’s no secret. I have to get the ball where I need it to be.”
Mookie Betts gave a hint of things to come, leading off the game with a single.
“Wade’s been so good all year,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He had a couple rough starts. We have to check and make sure he’s healthy. Fatigue is a factor, maybe.”
Pinch-hitter TJ Friedl, promoted by the Reds on Saturday, notched his first career hit and home run in the sixth. Friedl singled and scored on Jonathan India’s double in the eighth.
Joey Votto lined a pinch-hit homer off Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen in the ninth.
Betts gave a bat to the fan who caught Friedl’s home run ball and successfully retrieved the memento for the rookie.
SHOULDER THE LOAD
Seager originally was ruled safe due to interference by 2B Jonathan India during a second-inning rundown, but the call was reversed after the umpires met. They determined that Seager went out of the baseline and banged into India with his left shoulder.
The Dodgers improved to 65-35 in their last 100 games against the Reds since 2006.
Dodgers: Pinch-hitter Max Muncy was hit by a pitch in the left leg in the ninth inning. He stayed in the game.
Dodgers: After Monday’s off day, LHP Julio Urias (18-3) starts in the series opener on Tuesday at Colorado.
Reds: RHP Vladimir Gutirrez (9-6), Monday’s scheduled starter against the Pirates, allowed five hits, three walks and four runs in 3 2/3 innings of Cincinnati’s 5-4 loss at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.