Kershaw pitched six-plus innings to record his first victory in 10 major league starts, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 2-0 on Sunday. The left-hander got the lineup card from manager Joe Torre as a souvenir, and a shaving cream pie in the face from teammates while he was doing a postgame radio interview.
"It's awesome," said the 20-year-old Kershaw, the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft. "I've been looking forward to this for a long time. It's a relief to get it out of the way. I mean, one out of 10 is not a real good percentage. It's a great feeling to get one under my belt, and hopefully there's more to come."
In a matchup of pitchers who were winless in their previous 20 starts combined, Kershaw (1-3) gave up four hits and stranded three runners in scoring position less than 24 hours after Derek Lowe held the lowest-scoring team in the majors to one hit over eight innings.
"I haven't really pitched bad enough to not win, but at the same time, this is what they expected me to do up here and what I'm supposed to do," said Kershaw, who allowed two earned runs or fewer for the sixth time.
It was Kershaw's second outing since being recalled from Double-A Jacksonville on July 22, and his longest with the Dodgers.
"He deserved it," said catcher Russell Martin, who helped his batterymate with an RBI single. "He's pitched in a couple of games where he could have easily gotten wins. It's just unfortunate that it took this long for him to get it. But he got it and it was a good one. Hopefully, he just keeps getting better."
The Dallas native, who came in with a 5.18 ERA, threw 57 of his 86 pitches for strikes and was lifted after issuing a leadoff walk to Austin Kearns in the seventh.
"Clayton's pitch count was very good. That wasn't the reason we went to get him," Torre said. "It was just the fact that he gave us six quality innings and we knew we had some arms down there that could get us to the end."
Chan Ho Park and Hong-Chih Kuo each pitched an inning of relief and Jonathan Broxton completed the combined five-hitter with a perfect ninth, notching his fourth save since taking over the closer role for the injured Takashi Saito.
James Loney homered for the Dodgers (52-52), who completed a three-game sweep and climbed back to the .500 mark for the first time since May 30.
"It's been a rough road to get back to the point where we're at right now," second baseman Jeff Kent said. "I think you always look for a grab-bag prize, and maybe this is it. Maybe this will take the pressure off."
The Nationals, whose 38-68 record is the worst in baseball, have dropped 15 of their last 19 overall and nine straight at Dodger Stadium since May 4, 2005.
Bergmann (1-8) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings, struck out five and walked three. The right-hander is 0-7 with a 3.24 ERA in 12 starts since beating the New York Mets 7-0 on May 15 at Shea Stadium with seven innings of three-hit ball. He has lost his last six starts on the road, but refuses to get getting discouraged about his record.
"There's no other way to go about it," Bergmann said. "You can't get down on yourself, your teammates or anybody else, for that matter. ... I'm not going to be a selfish guy and say I wish I could be winning more. My mindset is just to try to do my best to keep the team in the game and try to get wins."
Loney led off the second inning with his ninth homer and Martin added a two-out RBI single in the fifth.
The Nationals, who have scored a major league-low 388 runs, were undermined by a pair of unconventional double plays en route to their 15th shutout loss of the season and third in four games.
Bergmann, who does not have a sacrifice bunt all season, tried to advance Wil Nieves in the third inning and Kershaw started a 1-6-3 double play. In the fifth, Lastings Milledge tried to go from first to third on Paul Lo Duca's groundout to third baseman Casey Blake in the hole, but was tagged out by shortstop Nomar Garciaparra as Blake ducked out of the way of Loney's throw back across the diamond.
Garciaparra left the game after five innings because of irritation in his left knee. Milledge's slide into third was the reason.
"It wasn't an easy play," said Garciaparra, who already has been on the disabled list twice this season. "I just tried to stay in there. I was in an awkward position, and he kind of got my leg and twisted my knee a little bit. It doesn't feel that bad right now, which is a good thing, but we'll know more tomorrow. If there's no swelling, it'll be fine."
Los Angeles activated 1B and pinch-hitting specialist Mark Sweeney from the disabled list and optioned 3B Andy LaRoche to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Matt Kemp had a pair of singles to extend his career-best hitting streak to 14 games. ... Felipe Lopez made his second straight start at SS for Washington in place of All-Star Cristian Guzman, who is sidelined because of a bruised left thumb.