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ARI@LAD: Dueling aces throw inside at each other

There will be no formal introductions necessary when Clayton Kershaw toes the Chase Field rubber on Friday night.

Let's just say the D-backs and the Dodgers' left-handed ace have a bit of a history.

At Dodger Stadium last September, Kershaw was ejected for hitting Arizona outfielder Gerardo Parra on the elbow with a pitch. That came a day after Kershaw took exception to Parra admiring a home run off then-Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo.

When the two clubs met in Los Angeles on May 14 -- the first time Kershaw had faced Arizona since the ejection -- D-backs starter Ian Kennedy threw behind Kershaw, who responded by brushing back Kennedy. Both pitchers were warned and no fireworks ensued.

Friday night the rivalry shifts to Chase Field, where Kershaw isn't likely to receive a warm welcome. He has owned the D-backs in 11 starts, posting a 7-2 record with a 1.92 ERA and 77 strikeouts in just 65 2/3 innings.

Kershaw's 2.65 ERA this year is reminiscent of his 2011 National League Cy Young campaign, but his 6-4 record isn't. Kershaw earned a victory against the Mets in his last time out, which was his first since June 9 despite three consecutive quality starts.

"I don't care what Clayton's record is," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after Kershaw's most recent win. "I'll take him any day of the week against anybody. I think, if he's not the best pitcher in baseball, he's right there. In a big game, in a tough situation, I'll take Kershaw any day."

Righty Josh Collmenter (0-2, 4.41 ERA) gets the ball opposite Kershaw in what will likely be his last start before he heads back to the bullpen. Left-hander Joe Saunders is due to return to the rotation after the All-Star break.

He'll be looking to snap a six-game skid for the D-backs, who have fallen seven games back of the first-place Dodgers.

"The last series was important, but it didn't go the way we wanted it," manager Kirk Gibson said of the D-backs recently being swept by San Diego. "We'd like to get back and on a better foot. But if we don't we'll keep pushing through.

Dodgers: Gordon to DL
• The Dodgers placed shortstop Dee Gordon on the disabled list before Thursday's game with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb.

The injury, which Gordon sustained on a headfirst slide into third base, will require surgery and keep the speedy 24-year-old out at least six weeks.

"It is what it is, man, there is nothing I can do about it," said Gordon, who is hitting .229 with a Major League-leading 30 steals this season. "I was starting to produce a little bit and help the team. For this to happen was definitely disappointing."

• Overshadowed by the Gordon news was the return of Mark Ellis to the starting lineup on Thursday night. The second baseman Ellis went 2-for-4 with a walk in his first start since he suffered a left leg injury on May 18 that required emergency surgery.

D-backs: Hill loses out on Final Vote
• Second baseman Aaron Hill will not be headed to Kansas City for next week's All-Star Game after losing out on the MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Firestone to St. Louis third baseman David Freese.

Nonetheless, Hill, who has hit for two cycles this season, was flattered by the support he received.

"It's fun to see how many people get behind you, it really is," Hill said. "I thank everyone who went out and voted however many times. I'm not huge into all the interviews and self-promoting, but obviously that's a huge part of it because it's a popularity thing. I enjoyed it though."

• Hill's numbers at Chase Field have certainly been All-Star worthy. Since May 23rd he is hitting .443 which is the top home batting average in the league during that time.

Worth noting
• Only one D-backs hitter is batting above .210 lifetime against Kershaw -- shortstop Willie Bloomquist, who has three hits in seven at-bats for a .429 average.

In total, current D-backs hitters have combined for a .129 mark at the plate against the reigning NL Cy Young.

• In the all-time series at Chase Field, the Dodgers hold a 66-59 edge over the D-backs.

• Since June 3, the Dodgers' bullpen has posted a 2.17 ERA.

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