for this game

Kershaw tries to stay hot in meeting with Cardinals

May 19, 2012 - 3:04 PM (Sports Network) - Clayton Kershaw will try to build off a previous scoreless outing this evening when the reigning National League Cy Young winner takes the hill for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second contest of a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The 24-year-old Kershaw is 3-1 with a 2.22 earned run average through eight starts this season, allowing two runs or less in six of those games. That includes Monday versus the Diamondbacks as he threw seven innings and scattered four hits and three walks, striking out six.

The left-hander has won 11 of his past 12 decisions overall and 13 of his last 14 at home.

"He's been pretty solid. He seems to be getting stronger and better as we go," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said about Kershaw.

Kershaw, a 21-game winner last year, is 3-2 with a 3.28 ERA in eight starts versus the Cardinals, who counter tonight with Jake Westbrook.

The right-hander threw seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball to beat the Diamondbacks on May 8, but allowed four runs on a season-high 11 hits six days later over five frames of a no-decision against the Cubs. It was Westbrook's shortest outing of the season and left him 4-2 on the season with a 2.35 ERA in seven starts.

Westbrook, 34, will make his first career start versus the Dodgers having faced them twice before in relief.

The Dodgers beat the Cardinals for a fifth straight time dating back to last season by taking Friday's opener 6-5. After Kanley Jansen allowed a game-tying homer to pinch-hitter Lance Berkman in the top of the ninth, the slugger's first of the season for the Cardinals, A.J. Ellis worked a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame off Fernando Salas.

"Once he fell behind in the count I waited for a good pitch to hit but no one was to my liking," said Ellis, who had two RBI in the Los Angeles' seventh victory in nine games.

Matt Holiday also homered for St. Louis, which has dropped six of its last eight.

"The bulk of the reason why we lost, we were letting them get deep in the count," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "That and defensive mistakes really cost us."

With Allen Craig (strained left hamstring) joining fellow outfielder Jon Jay (sprained right shoulder) on the disabled list Friday, Carlos Beltran returned to the starting lineup for the first time in five games and went 2-for-4 for St. Louis.