LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez are making the Los Angeles Dodgers think about October baseball in late July.
Kershaw pitched eight stellar innings, and Ramirez hit a two-run homer off Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey in a 2-1 victory over the Reds on Friday night.
Los Angeles maintained its half-game lead over Arizona in the NL West. The Dodgers are a major league-best 24-6 since June 21, when they were a season-worst 12 games out of first place.
Ramirez, acquired last year from the Marlins, is batting .387 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 47 games this season, despite two stints on the disabled list.
“Since I got here in this trade, everything changed — even in my life,” Ramirez said. “Being around these guys, it’s unbelievable.”
Kershaw (10-6) allowed a run and six hits, struck out eight and walked none, dropping his major league-best ERA to 1.96. The 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner is 5-1 with a 1.72 ERA over his last six starts after going 0-3 in six previous outings.
“They’ve got a great team over there, great lineup,” Kershaw said of the Reds. “The key is to get these middle guys and not to give them any opportunities.”
Kenley Jansen got three outs for his 13th save in 16 chances.
Bailey (5-10) lost his fourth straight since his no-hitter. He allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked one.
“There’s a reason why Kershaw has had the best ERA in the last three years, so it was out of my control,” Bailey said. “The last three times out I’ve faced him, and Jeff Locke, and that dude from Atlanta (Mike Minor) — he’s got about a 2-something ERA. So what can you do?
“I’d like to face a guy with an ERA over 3.00. That would be great.”
Kershaw and Bailey matches zeros until the sixth inning, when Adrian Gonzalez led off with a single, and Ramirez followed with a drive that just cleared the left field fence. It was his 11th homer of the season and 10th since coming off the disabled list on June 4.
“I made a pretty good pitch to Hanley there, a pitch that he had taken earlier in the game,” Bailey said. “My numbers in the past against him had always been pretty good (1 for 12 coming in), but he’s hot right now.”
Ramirez also singled in the fourth inning and has reached base safely in 34 straight games, the second-longest active streak behind Joey Votto’s 38-game run with the Reds.
“We knew we had the capability of doing this,” Gonzalez said. “He’s been swinging a hot bat. When he’s going like this, we kind of all jump on his back. My job is to create opportunities for him.”
Brandon Phillips led off the Reds’ seventh with a double inside first base, and Jay Bruce singled him home two pitches later. Cincinnati got its fourth double of the game in the eighth when pinch-hitter Derrick Robinson tucked a grounder inside third base with one out, but Kershaw retired Shin-Soo Choo on a comebacker and then got Chris Heisey to pop out on his 118th and final pitch.
Until then, the Reds had gotten only one runner past second base. That was in the fourth, when Heisey led off with a double off the glove of center fielder Andre Ethier and advanced on Phillips’ one-out grounder.
Kershaw escaped by striking out Bruce for the second straight time — increasing Bruce’s NL-worst strikeout total to 126.
“Both guys were dealing tonight, and it was a very good game. We just came out on the short end,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You know you’re not going to get a lot of chances to score off Kershaw, but we did have some. We hit some balls hard off him. It was a tough one to lose.”
BRAVES 4, CARDINALS 1
ATLANTA — Mike Minor allowed only one run to give Atlanta’s depleted rotation a lift, Jason Heyward homered, and the Braves beat Adam Wainwright in a matchup of division leaders.
Minor (10-5) gave up four hits with no walks in seven innings. His sharp performance came two days after Tim Hudson was lost for the season with a broken right ankle.
The Atlanta rotation also is without left-hander Paul Maholm, who is expected to miss at least one start because of a bruised left wrist.
Wainwright (13-6), the NL leader in wins, took his first loss since a 2-1 decision to Texas on June 23.
Yadier Molina gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead in the second inning with his eighth homer. The Braves answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Wainwright allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits and one walk in seven innings.
Minor, who became the first Braves pitcher to reach 10 wins, lowered his ERA to 2.89.
MARLINS 2, PIRATES 0
MIAMI — Henderson Alvarez earned his first National League victory, Giancarlo Stanton hit his 12th homer, and the Miami Marlins managed another low-scoring victory, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 on Friday night.
The Marlins are 4-4 since the All-Star break even though they have totaled only 15 runs.
Jeff Locke (9-3) allowed only two earned runs in 6 2-3 innings and had a career-high nine strikeouts, but he lost for the first time in his past 10 road starts. His ERA rose to 2.15.
Alvarez (1-1) gave up just two hits in six innings and lowered his ERA to 2.64. The game was his fifth after he sat out the first half of the season with right shoulder inflammation.
The shutout was only the third by the Marlins, but their starters have an ERA of 2.44 since the All-Star break.
Steve Cishek, Miami’s fifth pitcher, gave up a pair of two-out singles in the ninth inning but earned his 21st save in 23 chances, including 16 in a row.
METS 11, NATIONALS 0, 1st Game
NATIONALS 2, METS 1, 2nd Game
WASHINGTON — Ryan Zimmerman homered with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night, lifting Washington over the New York Mets for a doubleheader split.
In the opener, Jenrry Mejia pitched seven scoreless innings in his season debut, and Daniel Murphy homered twice and tied a career high with five RBIs for the Mets. Murphy had two hits for New York in the nightcap and went 6 for 9 in the day-night doubleheader.
After Anthony Rendon grounded out, Zimmerman hit a 3-1 fastball from reliever LaTroy Hawkins (3-2) over the fence in right center to win the second game. The Mets wasted another impressive outing by Matt Harvey, who gave up five hits and an unearned run in eight innings.
Rafael Soriano (2-2) pitched the ninth, surviving a first-and-third jam with one out.
Jayson Werth added three hits for Washington.
Pitching on the one-year anniversary his major league debut, Harvey struck out seven and walked one.
Washington starter Ross Ohlendorf, making his second start of the season, went seven innings. He allowed one run on six hits, struck out eight and walked two.
In the opener, Murphy went 4 for 5 with two homers and a pair of RBI singles. Juan Lagares had three hits and Ike Davis added a three-run homer for New York.
Mejia (1-0), who had been on the disabled list since March with shoulder inflammation, allowed seven hits.
Jordan Zimmermann (12-6), who allowed seven runs in a career-low two innings Sunday in a 9-2 loss to the Dodgers, needed 118 pitches to go 6 2-3 innings. He allowed five earned runs and six hits in his third straight loss.
ROCKIES 8, BREWERS 3
DENVER — Tyler Chatwood pitched seven strong innings and hit a two-run double to help Colorado break out offensively and beat Milwaukee.
Todd Helton and Nolan Arenado each had two hits and an RBI for the Rockies, who had scored an NL-low 58 runs in their 20 previous games in July.
Chatwood (7-3) allowed two runs on six hits and finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts.
The Rockies took advantage of Wily Peralta, who entered 3-1 with an 0.87 ERA in his previous six starts. Peralta (7-10) allowed eight runs — five earned — and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings. The Rockies batted around during four-run innings in the second and fourth.
Carlos Gomez homered off reliever Manuel Corpas in the ninth for the Brewers’ final run. The homer was the 17th of the season for Gomez and the 100th overall by Milwaukee.
DIAMONDBACKS 10, PADRES 0
PHOENIX — Randall Delgado tossed a three-hitter for his first career shutout, Cody Ross homered and drove in two runs, and Arizona pounded out 17 hits in a rout over San Diego.
Arizona roughed up Eric Stults (8-9) with six runs in the first three innings and had seven extra-base hits to win for the sixth time in nine home games.
Aaron Hill had a pair of run-scoring doubles before leaving with a tight right hamstring, A.J. Pollock added a two-run single, and Martin Prado had two of Arizona’s six doubles.
Delgado (3-3) added a pair of singles, becoming the first Arizona pitcher with a shutout and a multihit game since Randy Johnson on Sept. 14, 2003, against Colorado.
Delgado struck out three, walked one and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in all eight starts this season.
CUBS 3, GIANTS 2
SAN FRANCISCO — Julio Borbon and Junior Lake scored on an error by San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt in the ninth inning and the Chicago Cubs rallied to win.
Borbon singled leading off the ninth against closer Sergio Romo (3-5) and moved to second when pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro walked. After David DeJesus struck out, Lake reached on a fielder’s choice. Anthony Rizzo then hit a sharp liner that went through Belt’s legs and into the right field corner.
The Cubs rallied to win when trailing after eight innings for just the fourth time this season. Matt Guerrier (4-4) retired four batters for the win. Kevin Gregg worked the ninth for his 20th save.
Jeff Francoeur had two hits for the Giants, who lost for the fifth time in six games. Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence both doubled and scored for San Francisco, which dropped a season-high 10 games below .500.
INDIANS 11, RANGERS 8, 11 INNINGS
CLEVELAND — Ryan Raburn’s three-run homer in the 11th inning off Jason Frasor gave Cleveland a wild and sloppy win over Texas.
After Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana singled off Frasor (0-2), Raburn pulled a 2-1 pitch onto the home-run porch in left to rescue the Indians, who blew a 7-1 lead and nearly lost to a Texas team that committed three errors and had three wild pitches.
As he neared home plate, Raburn flipped his helmet high into the air and was pummeled by his teammates who doused him with water. It was the seventh walk-off win this season for the Indians, who began a stretch of 14 of 17 games at home.
Bryan Shaw (1-2), Cleveland’s fifth reliever, stranded the go-ahead run at third in the 11th, and the Indians stayed within three games of first-place Detroit in the AL Central.
ORIOLES 6, RED SOX 0
BALTIMORE — Chris Tillman pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, Adam Jones homered twice and Baltimore ended a three-game skid.
The loss dropped the Red Sox behind Tampa Bay in the AL East. Boston, which has dropped six of nine, had been alone atop the division since May 27.
Tillman (13-3) tied a career high with eight strikeouts in becoming the Orioles’ first 13-game winner since Erik Bedard in 2007. In his past three starts against Boston, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.68 ERA.
Jones hit a two-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the fifth to help Baltimore bounce back from three successive losses in Kansas City. It was the third multihomer game of his career.
Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy also homered for the Orioles, who improved to 6-2 against Boston this season.
John Lackey (7-8), who yielded a season-high tying five runs in 6 1-3 innings, gave up three of the homers.
BLUE JAYS 12, ASTROS 6
TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs in one inning, including his sixth career grand slam, Jose Reyes, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie also went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Houston Astros 12-6 on Friday night.
Encarnacion became the first Blue Jays player in nearly 20 years to homer twice in the same inning when he accomplished the feat in the seventh against Paul Clemens (4-4) and Hector Ambriz. For Encarnacion, the home runs were his 27th and 28th of the season, the third-most in baseball behind Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera.
Colby Rasmus had four hits and Reyes three as the Blue Jays won consecutive games for the first time since their franchise-record tying 11-game winning streak ended on June 24. Toronto had gone 8-19 since.
Brett Cecil (4-1) pitched two thirds of an inning for the win, handing the Astros their 21st loss in 26 games.
ROYALS 5, WHITE SOX 1
CHICAGO — James Shields tossed seven shutout innings, and rookie David Lough homered and drove in another run to lead Kansas City over the Chicago White Sox.
The Royals (49-51) have won four straight and six of eight since the All-Star break. The White Sox (40-60) have lost four of five.
Shields (5-7) allowed eight hits and walked two but faced only one real scoring threat, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning.
The veteran right-hander, in his first season in Kansas City, lowered his ERA to 3.09 and has been especially effective on the road, where he improved to 4-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 12 starts.
Chicago starter Jose Quintana (5-3) allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings to pick up the loss.
The White Sox got on the board in the eighth on a solo homer by Conor Gillaspie, but the Royals added three runs in the ninth.
ATHLETICS 6, ANGELS 4
OAKLAND, Calif. — Bartolo Colon won his 14th game for a share of the major league lead, backed by Jed Lowrie’s homer and two-run single and a two-run drive by Stephen Vogt in Oakland’s victory against the Los Angeles Angels.
Colon, the 40-year-old All-Star, won his third straight decision while facing his former club.
Mike Trout hit a two-run homer in the first on a ball he crushed into the elevated seats in left-center, then Colon settled in nicely against Los Angeles’ loaded lineup.
Colon (14-3) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out two and walked two. He has won 11 of 12 decisions since losing May 9 at Cleveland and has lost just once since turning 40 on May 24.
Jerome Williams (5-7) lost his second straight start to the A’s while facing them for the fifth time this year. He yielded four runs and six hits in five innings.
Williams lost his fifth straight decision and has a seven-start winless stretch since beating the Orioles in Baltimore on June 12.
TWINS 3, MARINERS 2, 13 innings
SEATTLE — Chris Colabello hit his first career home run, a two-run shot in the 13th inning, and Minnesota beat Seattle.
Mariners starter Felix Hernandez was two outs from a shutout and his first complete game of the season, but Trevor Plouffe’s pinch-hit single in the top of the ninth tied it at 1.
Runs were hard to come by for both teams until the Mariners’ Yoervis Medina (3-3) entered in the 13th. Aaron Hicks led off with a single, and Colabello — playing in his 14th major league game — followed with a two-run homer to right field.
Kendrys Morales led off the bottom of the 13th with his 16th homer, but Glen Perkins closed it out for his 25th save.
Brian Duensing (3-1) pitched two innings for the win.
The Twins ruined Hernandez’s shutout bid when Pedro Florimon led off the ninth with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Plouffe’s single.
TIGERS 2, PHILLIES 1
DETROIT — Alex Avila’s two-run double in the fifth inning put Detroit ahead, and Doug Fister pitched eight impressive innings to help the Tigers beat the Phillies.
Cole Hamels (4-13) was trying to protect a 1-0 lead for the Phillies when he allowed the bottom of Detroit’s batting order to break through. After a one-out walk to Hernan Perez, Ramon Santiago and Avila hit back-to-back doubles.
Santiago was playing third base in place of slugger Miguel Cabrera, who hasn’t played since Monday because of an injured left hip.
Fister (9-5) allowed three hits and an unearned run. Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 10 chances. Darin Ruf grounded out with a man on third to end it.