Dodgers' Kershaw sublime as usual in first start since July

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Los Angeles Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw started an MLB game for the first time in 40 days and did not miss a beat on Friday.

His last start, on July 23 against the New York Mets, ended after two innings as the three-time Cy Young winner left with back issues.

Kershaw was given the chance Friday to feast on some of his favourite prey - the San Diego Padres, against whom he has not allowed more than one earned run in six straight starts.

That streak continued as Kershaw pitched six scoreless innings in San Diego, allowing a scant two hits and no walks and striking out seven. 

Kershaw's return could not have come at a better time for the Dodgers, who had lost five straight games ahead of their weekend series at Petco Park.

Kershaw outdueled Padres starter Dinelson Lamet, and Brandon Morrow pitched the seventh inning, Tony Watson the eighth and Kenley Jansen closed the deal in the ninth in the Dodgers' 1-0 win.

The 29-year-old is 16-2 with a 1.95 ERA this season.