CHICAGO (AP) — Clayton Kershaw became the majors’ first 20-game winner and A.J. Ellis hit a pair of two-run homers, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 14-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
Kershaw (20-3) pitched five shaky innings in his shortest start in 3 1/2 months, but the NL West-leading Dodgers roughed up Edwin Jackson on their way to a 13-hit attack that included four homers. Matt Kemp hit a three-run shot in Los Angeles’ six-run first, and Yasiel Puig added another three-run homer in the sixth.
The Dodgers improved baseball’s best road record to 48-31 and will clinch a postseason berth if Milwaukee loses in Pittsburgh on Friday night. They began the day with a 2 1/2-game lead over San Francisco in the division.
Jackson (6-15) recorded just two outs in his first appearance since he was placed on the disabled list last month with a right lat strain. He was charged with four hits and five runs in his fourth consecutive loss.
Los Angeles batted around during its biggest first inning of the season. Kemp’s drive to left was his sixth homer this month and No. 22 on the year. Juan Uribe then chased Jackson with an RBI single before Ellis went deep for his second homer of the season.
Ellis connected against Eric Jokisch again in the third for his second career multihomer game. He also had two homers against the Cubs in a 6-1 victory in Los Angeles on Aug. 3, 2012.
Anthony Rizzo had an RBI double in Chicago’s three-run first, and the last-place Cubs added two more in the ninth. But that was it for Chicago in its second straight loss after a three-game sweep of Cincinnati.
Kershaw struck out nine in his sixth consecutive win. The left-hander, a prohibitive favorite for his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award, is 17-1 with a 1.39 ERA in his last 20 starts.
Kershaw had pitched at least eight innings in each of his previous seven outings. But he never looked comfortable in his second career start at Wrigley Field. He walked three, matching a season high, and also hit a batter.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder inflammation) said he is feeling a lot better and hopes to begin a throwing program this weekend. The 27-year-old left-hander was removed from his start last Friday at San Francisco after just one inning, and then had a cortisone shot on Monday.
Cubs: C Welington Castillo was hit by a foul ball in the first and departed with a left rib contusion. The team said he is undergoing further evaluation.
Dodgers RHP Roberto Hernandez (8-11, 4.06 ERA) takes on LHP Felix Doubront (2-1, 1.50 ERA) on Saturday afternoon. Hernandez, who was acquired last month in a trade with Philadelphia, is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts this year against Chicago. Doubront pitched six scoreless innings in a 6-4 victory at Pittsburgh in his previous start last Saturday.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap