It is only fitting that the Los Angeles Dodgers finished off the first half of the season the way they did, and that's with a Clayton Kershaw masterpiece at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw threw a complete game, striking out 13 batters on just 99 pitches in the Dodgers' 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals. The win gives the Dodgers' a series sweep heading into the All-Star break, which is their major-league best 10th sweep of the season. They have also won six in a row, as Kershaw went the distance for the first time this season and 25th time in his career. The red-hot Dodgers have won 18 of 19 at home, improving their home record to a majors best 39-11 record, as they hold the majors' best record at 61-29 overall. The left-handed ace improved to 14-2 on the season after allowing just two runs on six hits and did not walk a batter. He was selected to the All-Star Game in Miami, but will sit out after Sunday's start. He set the Dodgers' record for wins at the break, which was previously held by Orel Hershiser, who had 13 in 1988. Fellow All-Star Justin Turner went deep twice, and Austin Barnes did so once, to support Kershaw's efforts.
Rockies' Freeland Loses No-Hit Bid Late Against White Sox
There has been just one no-hitter in the first half of the major league season, and we were two outs away from our second one in Denver, Colorado on Sunday. Rockies' starter Kyle Freeland lost his no-hit bid on a one-out single from Melky Cabrera in the ninth inning in Colorado's 10-0 blowout victory over the Chicago White Sox. Freeland was immediately pulled after giving up his first hit, as his pitch count was at a staggering 126 pitches. The 24-year-old earned his ninth win, but Jordan Lyles had to come in for the final two outs of the game. Only one other pitcher has thrown a no-no at Coors Field, and that's Hideo Nomo, who did it with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1996. The only other no-hitter in Rockies' history was thrown by Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010 in Atlanta against the Braves. At the plate, Freeland helped himself out with an RBI single in the seventh, while Pat Valaika drove in five, including a three-run big fly on the day. Charlie Blackmon also went deep for a solo shot one day before he participates in the Home Run Derby. Carlos Rodon allowed six runs over 5.1 innings for the last-place White Sox in the loss.
Astros Cruise into All-Star Break with 19-Run Outburst
The Houston Astros joined the Dodgers as the only teams to reach 60 wins so far this season, but they did so in a big way on Sunday afternoon. The Astros went off for 19 runs, led by two home runs from Carlos Correa, in a 19-1 blowout of the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Jose Altuve added three hits, helping them become just the fifth team in the past 50 years to reach 60 wins before the All-Star break. They enter the break with a 16.5-game lead on the Angels and Rangers in the AL West, as they have won 14 of 19 overall. Correa had four hits on Sunday, just one game after his 15-game hit streak came to an end, as his 20th home run gave him his fifth-career multihomer game. Yuli Gurriel and Evan Gattis also went deep to support Brad Peacock, who earned his seven win after throwing six shutout innings. He allowed five hits and walked five, none of which Toronto could turn into runs. Ezequiel Carrera's ninth-inning long ball was the only source of run production for the lowly Blue Jays. The Astros tagged Jays' start J.A. Happ for six runs on seven hits in just four innings. Houston enters the break just a half game behind the Dodgers for the best record in the majors.