MILWAUKEE -- Freddie Freeman homered and drove in three runs and Clayton Kershaw won his National League-best sixth game as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-1 on Wednesday to take the three-game series.
Will Smith and Miguel Vargas also went deep for the NL West-leading Dodgers, who top the NL in home runs (64).
Kershaw (6-2) struck out eight batters and walked none over seven innings while allowing five hits. Besides giving up a home run to William Contreras, he allowed only one other runner to reach second base.
It was the seventh time the 35-year-old Kershaw pitched six or more innings and came a day after the Dodgers used seven relievers. Kershaw had won four straight before giving up four runs and walking five batters in 4 2/3 innings in his last start, a loss at San Diego.
“Overall, just better fastball command, just kind of the way it all started for me," he said. "I was able to put the ball on both sides of the plate, which was definitely helpful.”
The Dodgers scored seven runs in five innings off Milwaukee starter Wade Miley (3-2).
The 36-year-old Miley, signed as a free agent after pitching for the Cubs in 2022, retired the first 10 batters before Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Freeman and Smith hit back-to-back home runs.
After Contreras' homer in the fourth inning, Freeman extended Los Angeles’ lead to 4-1 with a two-out single in the fifth. Miley had loaded the bases by allowing a single and two walks.
“I felt a little bit better at the plate," Freeman said. "My body was moving toward the pitcher and not away from the pitcher today. I still had a couple bad swings here and there, but progress was made a little bit today.”
The lead was extended to 6-1 on Vargas’ home run in the sixth.
“I didn’t execute pitches out of the stretch, out of the windup everything was going good," Miley said. "Too many walks in situations where I need to go after guys.”
Los Angeles' Wander Suero pitched the eighth and ninth innings, striking out three.
Milwaukee closer Devin Williams appeared in a rare non-save opportunity, throwing a perfect ninth. He hadn’t pitched since Sunday.
KERSHAW SHUT DOWNS YELICH
Christian Yelich entered Wednesday with a career .474 average (9 for 19) against Kershaw, the highest of any player. The rest of the Brewers' lineup entered 1 for 37 against Kershaw. Yelich, who hit cleanup rather than his customary leadoff position, went 0 for 3.
The game featured veteran left-handed starters against the two NL teams with the lowest batting averages against lefties. The Dodgers entered Wednesday hitting .197 against left-handers and the Brewers .207.
“I think you can pick any stats you want in the first month of the season, but over the course of 162 (games), things are going to work themselves out," Freeman said.
Dodgers: Manager Dave Roberts said a decision likely will be made Friday on whether to put RHP Noah Syndergaard on the IL. Syndergaard left his start Tuesday after one inning because of a cut on the index finger of his pitching hand.
Dodgers: Host the Padres for a three-game series starting Friday, with RHP Dustin May (4-1, 2.68 ERA) taking the mound. San Diego did not announce a starter.
Brewers: Host the Royals for a three-game series starting Friday, with RHP Corbin Burnes (3-2, 3.86 ERA) taking the mound. Kansas City did not announce a starter.
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