Cleveland Indians (39-42) at Los Angeles Dodgers (47-37), 10:10 p.m. (ET)
06/30/2014 10:40 AM
06/30/2014 10:50 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will try to grab sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time since late April on Monday night when they begin a three-game set with the Cleveland Indians.
The Dodgers have ripped off a victory in 10 of their last 13 games to move into a virtual tie atop the division with the San Francisco Giants, who have lost four in a row and 15 of their past 19.
The Giants are off on Monday before opening a series on Tuesday with the St. Louis Cardinals, who the Dodgers took three of four against over the weekend.
Clayton Kershaw secured the series victory with yet another gem on Sunday, guiding the Dodgers to a 6-0 win. Kershaw fanned 13 over seven scoreless innings to go 6-0 in six June starts with a 0.82 earned run average. That span includes his first career no-hitter on June 18 versus Colorado.
"As a starting pitcher, you try to make it through the first three or four innings for your team," said Kershaw. "(St. Louis) is a veteran team over there. I just tried to take advantage of some of their weaknesses."
Los Angeles is looking to grab sole possession of the top spot in the NL West for the first time since it had a half-game lead back on April 24, and on Monday turns to Dan Haren.
Haren is 7-4 with a 3.83 earned run average on the season, but has not gotten a decision in back-to-back starts. That includes an outing on Wednesday in Kansas City as he lasted just 4 1/3 innings and was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks. He yielded a pair of homers, giving him 16 allowed in 16 starts this year.
The 33-year-old righty is 4-3 lifetime versus the Indians with a 3.82 ERA in 12 starts.
Cleveland counters with right-hander Corey Kluber, who snapped a four-start winless stretch (0-2) with a 6-1 win over Arizona on Wednesday. He logged seven scoreless frames, scattering four hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.
Kluber was helped by his offense plating a run in each of the first three innings as the 28-year-old moved to 7-5 on the year with a 3.09 earned run average. His eight strikeouts were the most he logged in a start since fanning 12 in his last victory on May 30.
"When you get early run support, you can pitch a little bit different," Kluber said. "Different mindset out there pitching with the lead than if its tied or you're down. Run support is always nice."
Kluber will face the Dodgers for the first time as the Indians try to avoid a seventh loss in nine games. They were shut down by Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners in Sunday's 3-0 loss.
Hernandez gave up just one hit -- a Lonnie Chisenhall single -- and fanned nine, while Indians starter T.J. House was again denied his first major league victory despite yielding only two runs over six-plus innings.
"I thought T.J. was really good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "On a lot of nights, we're sitting here bragging about his outing."
The Indians won two of three in Los Angeles when these clubs last met in 2008. The only other previous series between the clubs was a three-game sweep by the Dodgers in Cleveland back in 2003.
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