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Just another Clayton Kershaw masterpiece in 4-1 victory

August 29, 2011 |  9:50 pm

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Is it possible the rest of the country is overlooking the exploding greatness of Clayton Kershaw?

That behind the bankruptcy, ownership chaos, floundering team and daily excellence of Matt Kemp, that what Kershaw is pulling off this season is failing to get its proper recognition?

Even on Monday night, when he was yet again dominant in the Dodgers' 4-1 victory over the San Diego Padres, it would have been easy to put him third on the team highlight reel.

Andre Ethier returned to the lineup one day after sitting out a game over the brouhaha created over his injured knee, and stung the ball. Ethier was three for four with a run-scoring single and a double. It was his first extra-base hit and his first run batted in since Aug. 6.

And then there was born-again hitter James Loney, who hit a home run and doubled off the right-field wall to extend his hitting streak to eight games. He has driven in a run in six consecutive games, the first Dodger to do so since Loney did it April 30-May 6, 2010.

Kershaw just continued on his blistering way, which just might lead to the National League Cy Young Award, if anyone is truly paying attention.

Kershaw threw his fifth complete game this season, holding the Padres to one run and six hits. He was not at his overpowering best -- he struck out only five -- but he was never really in trouble.

Which has become an absolute pattern.

Kershaw won his ninth game in his last 10 starts, pushing his record to 17-5 and lowering his earned-run average to 2.45. His 212 strikeouts lead the NL, his victory total matches Arizona’s Ian Kennedy for the lead and his ERA is second.

Ethier gave Kershaw the lead with a run-scoring single in the first inning. Loney hit a two-run home run in the third against Mat Latos (6-13), giving him five home runs in August; he had four homers in his previous four months.

Ethier doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly for the Dodgers’ final run, in the fourth inning.

MORE:

Dodgers-Padres box score

Andre Ethier clarifies his comments about knee injury

Can a hot James Loney save his career with the Dodgers

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch against the Padres on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press

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