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COL@LAD: Kershaw completes 15-strikeout masterpiece

Clayton Kershaw will attempt to follow up his first career no-hitter with another strong outing Tuesday night in Kansas City.

"He's coming off a no-hitter, so what are the odds of him doing that twice in a row?" said Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who has never faced Kershaw.

No Major League pitcher has thrown back-to-back no-hitters since Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer accomplished the feat in 1938.

But even if Kershaw doesn't flirt with another no-no, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is confident his team can win every time his ace takes the mound. Kershaw, who has won his last four starts, displayed uncharacteristic emotion following his night to remember in Chavez Ravine last week.

"It tells you how much it means to a pitcher at the big league level," Mattingly said of the rare outburst from Kershaw. "It shows how much he cares. That's kind of what you want."

Mattingly added that it would be "splitting hairs" to call Kershaw's performance against the Rockies the greatest game ever pitched.

"But 15 strikeouts, no walks, 107 pitches," Mattingly said. "It tells you how dominant he was."

Kershaw's counterpart Tuesday, however, is no slouch. Danny Duffy has struck out at least five batters in three of his last four starts. This month, the southpaw's ERA has dropped from 3.57 to 2.80.

The rising strikeout totals are rare for Duffy, who lost despite allowing only three hits in seven innings last time out against the first-place Tigers.

"I just think I'm executing better," he said. "When my strikeouts are down, that means my execution isn't there because if you throw my slider where it's supposed to be on the plane, you'll see a lot of swing and misses.

"My fastball command has been there a lot lately. I left a couple of fastballs up in Detroit, and they capitalized."

Following Monday night's 5-3 win in the series opener with Los Angeles, Kansas City is two games behind the Tigers for the AL Central lead.

Dodgers: Kershaw named NL Player of Week
• For some pitchers, 15 strikeouts would make up a good month.

Kershaw did it in a single night on his way to a no-hitter and one of the most dominant pitching performances of all-time.

He was honored Monday as the National League's Player of the Week, the fourth time Kershaw has earned the honor.

Kershaw needed just 107 pitches (79 strikes) to accomplish his feat, and the 15 strikeouts were the most in baseball history by a pitcher who didn't allow a runner to reach base via hit, walk or hit-by-pitch.

Royals: Season has been streaky thus far
• Given that Kansas City is only two games out of first place, it's hard to find much fault in the way its season has gone. But the Royals have been riding a roller coaster of late.

Monday night, Kansas City snapped a four-game skid that immediately followed a thrilling 10-game winning streak. Over that hot streak, the Royals briefly dethroned the Tigers for AL Central supremacy.

"I knew that it's a long, long season and over the course of a season, we would get to where we needed to be and get to a point where we could compete," manager Ned Yost said. "And that's where we are now."

The streaky nature of Kanas City's season is hardly limited to the past month. The Royals opened May by dropping five in a row and dropped four straight later that month.

In April, Kansas City strung together five straight wins.

Worth noting
• Kershaw has never faced the Royals, nor has Duffy opposed the Dodgers. Comments