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LOS ANGELES — Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivered a 90-mph fastball to the first batter he faced, Jurickson Profar, at 7:10 p.m. on Thursday night. He flashed a new pitch before his five innings against the Colorado Rockies were over. Otherwise, Kershaw picked up right where he left off.

The Dodgers’ offense didn’t pick up until Kershaw had thrown his final pitch.

After being shelved for 44 days with a shoulder injury, Kershaw allowed only one run in five innings in the Dodgers’ 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies. He allowed three hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out four before an announced crowd of 45,933 at Dodger Stadium.

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Rockies pitcher Ty Blach was every bit Kershaw’s equal. The veteran lefty threw six innings, allowed three hits, walked two, and took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning.

Max Muncy’s solo home run in the seventh inning, and his bases-loaded walk in the eighth, provided both of the Dodgers’ runs.

The win kicked off a 10-game homestand on the heels of a 5-1 road trip that allowed the Dodgers (67-46) to separate themselves atop the National League West. They have won nine of their past 11 games and lead the second-place San Francisco Giants by 6½ games, with the Rockies (45-70) comfortably buried in the division cellar.

Colorado’s underwhelming lineup made for a soft landing for Kershaw, who looked comfortable throughout an efficient 67-pitch outing. Despite not making a minor league rehabilitation appearance after hurting his shoulder on June 27, Kershaw only made one mistake: a hanging slider to Elehuris Montero that the Rockies’ designated hitter planted in the left-center field bleachers for a home run in the fifth inning.

Kershaw complemented his 90-92 fastball, curveball and slider with a new fourth pitch. He threw the apparent splitter/changeup hybrid three times, each time for a strike. Kershaw lowered his ERA to 2.51 in 17 starts.

Muncy led off the seventh with a home run of his own, launching a 90-mph fastball into the Rockies’ bullpen. His 28th homer of the season ended a six-pitch at-bat. That was the last of Blach’s 83 pitches. Tied 1-1, the game belonged to the bullpens.

Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (5-5) threw three scoreless innings in relief of Kershaw. He allowed only one runner to reach base, when Ezequiel Tovar singled in the sixth inning, then picked him off first base for the second out of the inning. The decision to throw over was critical: if he hadn’t been picked off, Tovar would have been awarded second base because it was the third time Yarbrough disengaged with the pitching rubber during the plate appearance.

In the eighth inning, the Dodgers loaded the bases against Rockies reliever Tommy Doyle on walks by David Peralta and Freddie Freeman, sandwiched around a Mookie Betts single.

Tovar, the Rockies’ shortstop, made a spectacular catch in left-center field on a Will Smith fly ball for the second out of the inning. But Muncy watched a 3-and-1 fastball from Doyle miss the inner edge of Erich Bacchus’ strike zone, drawing a walk to force in the Dodgers’ second run.

Brusdar Graterol pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his fifth save of the season.

More to come on this story.


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