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Kershaw sails to 18th victory

AP

Clayton Kershaw toyed with yet another opponent.

Kershaw became the major leagues’ first 18-game winner, Yasiel Puig ended a 60 at-bat RBI drought, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Padres 9-4 on Monday night.

Hanley Ramirez tied a season high with four hits and drove in two runs, helping the Dodgers increase their NL West lead to 3½ games over the idle San Francisco Giants. Juan Uribe and Carl Crawford homered for Los Angeles.

Kershaw (18-3) reduced his major league-best ERA to 1.67, allowing three runs — one earned — and three hits while striking out eight in eight innings.

“It was a good night for us. There wasn’t a whole lot of stress because we got some runs early — and we haven’t had too many of those,” said Kershaw, who hadn’t received more than four runs of support while he was in the game in any of his previous seven outings.

“Obviously when you get that big of a lead, you just want to pound the zone. I got some good plays defensively behind me.”

The Padres scored two unearned runs against the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner in the sixth on Rene Rivera’s routine flyball to center field that resulted in throwing errors by Puig, catcher A.J. Ellis and shortstop Ramirez — on the same play.

“You can laugh about it now because we won pretty good. Luckily it wasn’t zero-zero or anything,” Kershaw said.

Kershaw is 15-1 with a 1.20 ERA and six complete games in his last 18 starts, including a no-hitter.

Nationals 2, Braves 1

In Washington, Doug Fister pitched seven shutout innings, and Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon each drove in a run to lead the Nationals past Atlanta in the opener of a three-game series between the top teams in the NL East.

Marlins 6, Brewers 4

In Milwaukee, Giancarlo Stanton hit his NL-leading 37th homer, tying Dan Uggla for the Miami record for career homers (154).

Pirates 6, Phillies 4

In Philadelphia, Starling Marte hit a two-run homer to lead Pittsburgh to its fourth consecutive win.

Cardinals 5, Reds 0

In Cincinnati, Matt Carpenter broke a scoreless tie with his two-run single for St. Louis in the seventh inning, and Matt Adams added a three-run homer.

Mets 3, Rockies 2

In New York, Curtis Granderson hit a tying triple off LaTroy Hawkins in the ninth and scored two pitches later on Wilmer Flores’ sacrifice fly, sending the Mets to the win.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Tigers 9, Royals 5

In Detroit, Torii Hunter had two of his three hits in a six-run third inning and the Tigers beat Kansas City to move within a game of the AL Central-leading Royals.

Norichika Aoki was 1-for-4 with two RBIs in the loss.

Angels 12, Indians 3

In Cleveland, Jered Weaver became the AL’s first 16-game winner, and Los Angeles did all its damage against Danny Salazar in one inning for its fifth straight win.

Orioles 4, Red Sox 0

In Boston, Nelson Cruz had a pair of hits and Miguel Gonzalez pitched into the seventh, helping Baltimore open a double-digit lead in the AL East.

White Sox 5, Athletics 4 (12)

In Chicago, Tyler Flowers hit a solo home run to tie the game in the ninth inning and then added another shot in the 12th to lift the White Sox.

Mariners 4, Astros 1

In Seattle, Brad Miller had a tiebreaking two-run triple in the eighth inning and drove in three runs, helping the Mariners gain ground in the AL wild-card race.

INTERLEAGUE

Blue Jays 8, Cubs 0

In Toronto, Marcus Stroman pitched a three-hitter for his first complete game, and Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer for the hosts as Chicago was shut out for the 15th time this season.