Dodgers ace Kershaw back with a vengeance

Washington: Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw made a triumphant return to the mound on Tuesday after six weeks sidelined by a muscle strain in his upper back.

In his first start since the Dodgers` season-opener in Australia on March 22, Kershaw pitched seven shut-out innings in an 8-3 Los Angeles victory over the Washington Nationals.

Kershaw gave up nine hits and struck out nine without a walk.

The left-hander threw 23-of-28 first-pitch strikes and didn`t give up an extra-base hit.

The Dodgers provided the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner -- who inked a seven-year contract extension worth $215 million in January -- with plenty of run support.

Hanley Ramirez went 3-for-5 at the plate with a home run and two runs batted in and Drew Butera belted a three-run homer in the victory.

Dee Gordon added two hits and a brace of runs scored, while Andre Ethier finished 2-for-5 with an RBI.

Los Angeles` Yasiel Puig sat out a second straight game after his high-speed collision with the outfield wall on Sunday at Miami.

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