The Los Angeles Dodgers have dealt with a rare tough stretch as of late, which means the return of their ace Clayton Kershaw could not come at a better time. The left-hander lasted six innings on Friday night and allowed just two infield singles in a 1-0 shutout of the San Diego Padres. Kershaw was making his first start since July 23rd, when he was taken out after two innings due to a back injury. He struck out seven and walked none in what was his 16th victory of the season. He improved to 3-0 this year against San Diego, and 17-6 in his career against their division rival. The former Cy Young winner has not lost since May 1st, as his 12 straight decisions won is the longest current streak in the majors. Friday's win snapped a five-game losing streak for the best team in baseball, which was their longest losing streak since April of 2016. Chase Utley's RBI single was all that was needed on the road for the NL West leaders, as Padres rookie starter Dinelson Lamet suffered his sixth loss despite throwing six impressive innings. The series continues with a day-night doubleheader on Saturday.
Diamondbacks Down Rockies, Win Eighth Straight
The Arizona Diamondbacks know they have no shot of catching the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, although, they are doing a great job of securing the top Wild Card spot. Taijuan Walker struck out a career-high 10 to lead the D-backs past the Colorado Rockies for a 9-5 win on Friday. The victory was their eighth in a row, as they increased their lead to 4.5 games over the Rockies for the top Wild Card spot. Daniel Descalso had a home run to put Arizona up for good, helping Walker earn his eighth win despite him lasting just five innings. The Rockies did have opportunities to cut into the D-backs' lead, although they finished the game 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. They have hit .159 in that situation in the past 10 games, and struck out 12 times on Friday night. They stranded 12 runners in the loss, as a two-run sixth and a three-run seventh was not enough to overcome their struggles. If the playoffs were to start today, this would be the NL Wild Card matchup in Arizona, but the Rockies lead for the second Wild Card spot currently sits at just 1.5 games over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Indians Sweep Doubleheader, Win Ninth Straight
The Cleveland Indians have had their way with the Detroit Tigers the past couple of seasons, and that may have gotten easier with the trades of Justin Upton and Justin Verlander. The Tribe have had their way overall as of late as well, and they used a doubleheader sweep on Friday to extend their win streak to nine games. First, Francisco Lindor had the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth for a 3-2 win in the afternoon contest. Edwin Encarnacion added a long ball on the day, as Carlos Carrasco allowed just one run over seven innings, but ended the day with a no-decision. Jay Bruce's pinch-hit triple off of Shane Greene set up Lindor's game-winner, helping Cody Allen earn the win in relief. Joe Smith came in to get Miguel Cabrera to line out with the bases loaded and earn his first save of the season. The night game wasn't nearly as close, as Mike Clevinger's six shutout innings was well supported in a 10-0 victory over Detroit. The win gives them nine in a row, as the AL Central leaders were led by Roberto Perez's long ball and three RBI on the night. Perez's big night gives him a seven-game hitting streak where he has gone 10-for-23 in that span. The Tigers started Buck Farmer for the doubleheader and he gave up five runs on three hits in three-plus innings. The two teams will meet two more times this weekend, as the Indians look to extend what is currently an eight-game lead on the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central.