LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw retired 18 consecutive batters and struck out 12 in eight dominant innings, Carl Crawford homered twice against Kyle Lohse and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 on Sunday.
Kershaw (3-2) scattered four hits and didn’t walk a batter while lowering his ERA to 1.73. The 2011 Cy Young Award winner, who led the NL in ERA in each of the previous two seasons, hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last 18 starts — the longest active streak in the majors. The last time he did was July 24, 2012, when he gave up eight at St. Louis.
Kershaw stranded runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings, retiring Jonathan Lucroy on a double-play grounder in the first and striking out Martin Maldonado to end the second. He gave up a leadoff double in the eighth to Carlos Gomez, who tried to advance on a broken-bat comebacker to Kershaw and was tagged out by third baseman Juan Uribe in a rundown.
Kershaw’s string of consecutive outs began after Rickie Weeks’ bloop double leading off the second.
Milwaukee’s only other hits were one-out singles in the first by Jean Segura and Ryan Braun. It was the left-hander’s fifth game with at least 12 strikeouts.
Kershaw began the season with 4-0 and 1-0 wins over San Francisco and Pittsburgh, allowing no runs over 16 innings. On opening day, he threw a complete-game four-hitter
Brandon League pitched a perfect ninth inning for his eighth save in nine chances.
Crawford drove Lohse’s first pitch of the game over the centre field fence. It was the fourth time that the right-hander gave up a home run to his first batter in 336 career starts — and the first one that came on his very first pitch. Crawford’s second homer came on an 0-2 count and landed in the right field pavilion. It was his sixth multihomer game in the majors and first since July 8, 2010, for the Tampa Bay Rays against Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook.
Lohse (1-2) gave up five hits and no walks while striking out four. The 13-year veteran had allowed only one home run in 25 innings over his first four starts for the Brewers, who signed him to a three-year, $33 million contract as a free agent on March 25.
NOTES: Kershaw threw 117 pitches. The other leadoff homers Lohse has given up were by Jose Valentin (2001), Chuck Knoblauch (2002) and Jayson Werth (2011). … Ramon Hernandez made his fourth start behind the plate for the Dodgers. His other three came in LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu’s last three starts. … Lohse reached the 2,000-inning mark for his 13-year career when he retired Kershaw on a grounder to shortstop to end the second. … Lohse, coming off a 7-1 win last Monday at San Diego, hasn’t won consecutive road starts since last April against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. … Dodgers LHP Ted Lilly makes his second start on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series with Colorado. He is 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in four career starts against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, including a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts on Aug. 19, 2010. … Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo will pitch the opener of a three-game set against Pittsburgh on Monday at Miller Park. He is 6-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his last seven starts overall against the Pirates.