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Loons' Kershaw slays Dragons05/30/2007 12:39 AM ET
By Danny Wild
While it was tough to reach base against Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday night, it was even tougher to stay on base.
Kershaw allowed one hit over a career-best eight innings as he pitched the Great Lakes Loons to a 3-1 triumph over the Dayton Dragons at Dow Diamond.
Kershaw (5-2) walked one and picked off the only other Dragon who reached -- on an error -- in the finest performance of his two-year career. He struck out seven and lowered his ERA to 2.34.
The 19-year-old southpaw has given up just one earned run over 18 innings in his last three starts. He moved into third place in the Midwest League with 68 strikeouts. On April 24 against Cedar Rapids, he fanned 12.
Juan Francisco managed the only hit off Kershaw but was stranded in the second when the seventh overall pick in last year's draft struck out Chris Heisey and Eddy Rodriguez to end the inning.
Francisco walked with two outs in the fourth but was stranded again when Denis Phipps popped to second. Chris Valaika reached on shortstop Justin Fuller's error in the fourth but promptly was picked off.
Kershaw was in control throughout, facing only two batters over the minimum while recording eight groundouts and eight flyouts.
Joe Jones came on in the ninth for the Loons but ran into trouble after recording the first two outs. He allowed one run on one hit before Miguel Ramirez struck out Phipps for his fourth save.
Great Lakes (22-28) left 14 men on base but pulled ahead in the second when Preston Mattingly singled in James Peterson. Scott Van Slyke drove in Josh Bell with a single in the fifth before Bell plated Adolfo Gonzalez with a single in the eighth.
Bell extended his franchise-record hitting streak to 15 games with three singles.
Daniel Guerrero (0-1) allowed an unearned run on five hits over three innings in his second start for first-place Dayton (33-18). He struck out five without issuing a walk. Anthony Gressick and Marcos Mateo each allowed a run.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.