MILWAUKEE (AP) — With speculation that Don Mattingly could be fired sometime this week, the Los Angeles Dodgers manager needed Clayton Kershaw to pitch well in the worst way.
Boy, did the star left-hander come through for Donnie Baseball.
Kershaw scattered three singles in his second complete game of the year and Matt Kemp hit his first home run since April 24, lifting the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.
"Every time I get in trouble, Kersh saves me," Mattingly joked. "One more day."
Ryan Braun managed a pair of singles and Yuniesky Betancourt also singled for the only hits off Kershaw (5-2). The lefty struck out five and walked one.
"We obviously hear the stuff that's going around," Kershaw said about the speculation. "I don't think we need any extra added motivation to play better, but we want to do well for Donnie.
"We've always wanted to play well," he said. "He's a great manager and a great person, and we know it's up to us. He can't go out there and play."
Andre Ethier homered and tripled for the last-place Dodgers before being ejected by plate umpire Dan Bellino for arguing a called third strike in the eighth inning.
"Today was a great superstar win," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "We had Clayton do his thing, and Matt and Andre hit home runs. That's kind of how this has all been designed and hopefully this is what continues from here on out."
The victory was a respite for Mattingly. He addressed speculation before the game on whether he would be fired this week, insisting he didn't feel as if he was about to be replaced.
Yovani Gallardo (3-4) gave up three runs, including two homers, in six innings. The right-hander lost his third consecutive start and the reeling Brewers have dropped 15 of 18 games.
"I thought he threw the ball well," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of Gallardo. "He had better life on his fastball today, he commanded it well. His slider was good. He made a couple of mistakes and they got him."