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Dodgers sweep Rays behind Kershaw's 8-2 win, sending Hellickson to 3rd straight loss

Clayton Kershaw lowered his major league-leading ERA to 1.88 with eight innings of three-hit ball and had a two-run single, and the Los Angeles Dodgers increased their NL West lead to a season-best 7½ games Sunday night with an 8-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Mark Ellis had a homer and three RBIs to help Los Angeles improve to a major league-best 37-8 since June 22, a stretch that has dramatically turned around their season after they trailed the Arizona Diamondbacks by as many as 9½ games. The Dodgers are a season-best 17 games over .500.

The Rays lost their season-worst fifth in a row, but remained three games behind AL East-leading Boston following the Red Sox's loss at Kansas City.

Kershaw (11-7) allowed two runs — one earned — and struck out eight to help the Dodgers complete their seventh series sweep of the season.