Barry Gutierrez, Associated Press
DENVER — For one night, the conversation wasn't all about rookie sensation Yasiel Puig.
Granted, the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder did have another stellar game, which is pretty much the standard these days. But Clayton Kershaw accomplished what few have been able to do lately — he stole some of Puig's spotlight.
Kershaw tossed a four-hitter for his second shutout of the season as the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 8-0 on Tuesday.
"He had everything working," manager Don Mattingly said of his ace.
Kershaw (7-5) kept the Rockies off balance all night, even top hitter Michael Cuddyer, who had his franchise-record 27-game hitting streak halted after going hitless in four plate appearances. Cuddyer flied out to Puig in right to end the game.
"If it was going to end, might as well end against the best pitcher in the league," Cuddyer said. "He pitched really well. He was tough tonight."
So tough that he allowed just one runner to get to second all evening. The hard-throwing Kershaw had eight strikeouts and walked none.
"I had pretty good fastball command tonight," he nonchalantly said.
Asked about the offense and his face lit up as he pedaled on the exercise bike after the game.
"It's awesome," Kershaw said. "It's a tough lineup right now to get through. Puig's on another planet. You keep thinking he can't keep this up, not just singles, he's been hitting the ball really hard everywhere. I've been really, really impressed."
It's hard not to be. The 22-year-old Puig had three more hits, including a solo homer, to raise his average to .443 this season.
"Whatever league that I'm in I'm going to do the best I can," he said through a translator. "I'm going to play wherever they ask me to play."
Roy Oswalt (0-3) was roughed up in his first start at Coors Field this season. He allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings. Part of that, he explained, had to do with simply being too fine.
"Trying to throw that nine-inning shutout with 70 pitches, instead of being aggressive like I've always been," Oswalt said.
Adrian Gonzalez broke open the game with a two-run homer in the third and Juan Uribe added a pair of RBI singles. Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the second.
Kershaw found himself in a rather unfamiliar position — with a big early lead. He entered the game with the second-lowest run support of any NL starter.
But the Dodgers gave Kershaw an early four-run cushion, more than enough for him. It was Kershaw's third complete game of the season and second shutout. He held the San Francisco Giants without a run in his first start of the season on April 1.
Kershaw might have had the play of the game against the Rockies — or at least the most comical — when he lost his glove trying to field a bunt.
No matter, he picked it up barehanded and threw out Josh Rutledge.
"He had his 'A' game, no question," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It was going to be tough to score off of him. He was at the top of his game and when he is, you have to scratch and claw for everything."
The fans showed up early to watch Puig send one monster shot after another into the stands during batting practice.
Puig was even more impressive once the game began.
These days, it's hard not to take notice of Puig. His 44 hits in June were a Dodgers rookie record for a month.