NEW YORK -- A cameraman closely trailed Clayton Kershaw, unusually so, as the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher walked off the mound at Citi Field on Friday night. Kershaw was not pleased, not after walking consecutive hitters to load the bases with one out and mar an otherwise quality outing before he could finish the seventh inning. He waved the man off. He wasn't having it.
"He was too close," Kershaw said.
Kershaw was annoyed, but the ending was not indicative of his performance against the New York Mets. The left-hander rebounded from a three-start losing skid and his shortest outing of the season with a strong outing in the Dodgers' 9-2 win.
He allowed a home run to J.D. Davis and surrendered a walk in the first inning but got stingy after that. Over the next five innings, the Mets managed two hits -- consecutive singles in the fourth inning. The Mets went two for 17 during the span.
"Just sometimes it happens," Kershaw said. "Hopefully get on one of those every start. Just finally got going a little bit better."
The Mets then loaded the bases and chased Kershaw with one out in the seventh inning. Joe Kelly was summoned to extinguish the situation. The right-hander got Brandon Nimmo to hit a chopper to his left. Kelly corralled it and spun for an athletic throw home for the forceout. Amed Rosario lined a run-scoring single before Davis grounded out to limit the damage. Kershaw (14-5), coming off a four-inning start, was ultimately charged with two runs on four hits as he improved to 10-0 in his career against the Mets during the regular season.
"I think he needed that," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
The Dodgers tallied four runs in the fourth inning to snatch the lead, capped off by Gavin Lux's tie-breaking, three-run home run. The homer, the second of Lux's short career, came on a hanging curveball from Noah Syndergaard (10-8), who allowed four runs in five innings. It traveled 419 feet to straightaway center field. Edwin Rios, another rookie, lofted a pinch-hit, two-home run over the wall in left field in the eighth.
The Dodgers (96-53) boarded a train north from Baltimore late Thursday night with their playoff spot sewn up. They became the first team in the majors to clinch a division title Tuesday. The Mets reside at the other end of the playoff race.
While the Dodgers are playing for home-field advantage and individual numbers, the Mets (76-70) are clawing for their first postseason appearance since 2016. They began Friday two games behind the second wild-card spot, alongside the Philadelphia Phillies. These three games matter more to them.