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Kershaw back with shutout ball, Dodgers top Nats

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 6, 2014 at 10:54 pm •  Published: May 6, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Clayton Kershaw admitted he was nervous about making his first start in six weeks.

Apparently it's nothing new. He just hides it well.

Kershaw pitched seven shutout innings in his first outing since opening day, and Hanley Ramirez and Drew Butera homered to help the Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the Washington Nationals 8-3 Tuesday night.

"I'm always nervous, every time I start," Kershaw said. "You want to do well. Same type of nerves tonight, but after the first inning I was able to settle in OK."

Kershaw (2-0) was stubborn in his return after missing 32 games, allowing nine hits, but striking out nine without a walk, and pitching out of several jams while the game was still close.

The two-time NL Cy Young winner had been on the disabled list for the first time in his career, sidelined by a strained back muscle after winning March 22 in the major league opener in Australia.

"He shows you right away what you've been missing," said manager Don Mattingly, whose Dodgers began the day third place in the N.L. West. "Just a guy that brings that to the table every five days. It's a little reminder of who he is and what he means to you."

The Dodgers collected 14 hits despite keeping outfielder Yasiel Puig out for the second straight game since he crashed into an outfield wall in the ninth inning Sunday at Miami.

Coming off a pair of minor league rehabilitation starts, Kershaw threw 89 pitches.

"I missed pitching in the big leagues," he said. "It's a special thing we get to do and I try not to take it for granted, so six weeks felt like a long time."

Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth singled to start the fourth against Kershaw, but Adam LaRoche popped out and Kershaw struck out Scott Hairston and Ian Desmond.

In the sixth, Rendon led off with a single, but Kershaw picked him off. Werth and LaRoche followed with singles before Kershaw again fanned Hairston and Desmond.

"He was nasty," Washington's Jose Lobaton said. "He was right in the zone. He was throwing strikes, aggressive, big curveball."

Werth had four hits and Blake Treinen (0-1), making his first major league start, allowed three unearned runs in five-plus innings.

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