Dodgers Sweep the Rays, Diamondbacks Fall to the Mets

Thanks to stellar pitching by Los Angeles Dodgers (67-50) lefty phenom Clayton Kershaw (11-7) on Sunday, he led his team to a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays (66-50) with an 8-2 win.

The Dodgers keep expanding their steak–winning five straight–and now have their best win stretch in 60 years. Since the All-Star Break, they have gone 20-3 and after sitting 9 1/2 games back in the division on June 22, they’ve gone 37-8 since then.

Solidly in the NL West’s top spot, they are ahead of the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks (59-57) by a season-high 7 1/2 games and now above .500 by 17 games. They also have a winning 11-6 Interleague Play record–a first since 2004.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw

On Sunday in his eight innings, Kershaw gave up two runs (one earned) with eight strikeouts. Tampa Bay didn’t get a hit off him until the fifth inning with a single by Yunel Escobar and a triple by Sam Fuld. With the win, Kershaw lowered his ERA to a MLB-leading 1.88.

He said of the team’s recent play via MLB.com, “You rattle off a streak like we’re on right now, it’s a little more than luck. We’re a pretty good team right now, and it’s a lot of fun coming to the yard every day. You try not to get too caught up in it and keep playing hard every day.”

Kershaw, who won the NL Cy Young Award is 2011, sits at 2/3 for his second one in 2013.

Contributing to the win, Mark Ellis was 3-for-5 with a home run, double and three RBIs. Teammate Adrian Gonzalez hit a double and brought in two runs.

As for the Rays, righty Jeremy Hellickson (10-6) allowed four runs and seven hits in his three innings on the mound. Sunday’s start was his first career one versus the Dodgers. For the sixth game of the last nine, he is the latest Tampa Bay starting pitcher who didn’t last longer than five innings.

For the Dodgers, they’ll look host a three-game series against the New York Mets (54-61) beginning on Monday.

The Mets, who have won their last five of six games, will put righty Jenrry Mejia (1-1) on the mound in an effort to stop the Dodgers. In his three starts, Mejia has given up four earned runs with 18 strikeouts over 18 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers will put their faith in righty Ricky Nolasco (8-9) on Monday to continue their win streak. He has won two straight outings but he has gone 0-6 in his last starts versus the Mets.

But this will end as the home team will get another win (-193, 7 o/u). Looking ahead, the Dodgers are 11/2 to win this year’s World Series.

Mets defeat the Diamondbacks, 9-5 

The Diamondbacks saw Sunday’s game got away from them thanks to the Mets Andrew Brown’s play in the seventh inning. His three-run home run busted things open and the Mets took an 8-4 advantage. One last Mets home run came in the ninth inning by Wilmer Flores–his first career one.

With the Mets win, they won two of three against the Diamondbacks, who are just watching the Dodgers run away with the division.

In his second career start, Diamondbacks righty Zeke Spruill gave up five runs (one earned), six hits and two walks in his three innings on the mound.

Cody Ross edits

Cody Ross

Adding to the team’s frustration on Sunday, in the first inning they watched Cody Ross get carted off the field with a dislocated hip. The veteran free agent signed a three-year contract with the Diamondbacks in the offseason.

The team will put the series behind them and look ahead to their three-game one against the Baltimore Orioles (65-52).

In Monday’s Game 1, Orioles righty Scott Feldman (2-3) takes the mound against Diamondback lefty Wade Miley (9-8).

Arizona gets the win (-113, 8.5 o/u).

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