By BETH HARRIS
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — The Yankees left Los Angeles feeling good about how they matched up against the team with the best record in baseball.
DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge and Mike Ford homered, and Domingo German outdueled Clayton Kershaw for his major league-leading 17th win in a 5-1 victory over the Dodgers on Sunday.
“We played consistent and we have a dangerous lineup,” said Judge, who homered in all three games and is one away from 100 in his career.
“To come in here and win two of three from the best team in the National League and one of the best teams in baseball is awesome,” he said.
The Yankees set a major league record for most homers in a month with 61 in August. They slugged nine a series that was touted as a potential World Series preview to remain tied with Houston for the best record in the American League at 85-47.
The Dodgers are 86-46.
“It’s hard not to let it creep into your head that this could be a preview of something,” Dodgers infielder Max Muncy said. “The atmosphere was unbelievable. The fans were loud.”
German (17-3) allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out five and walked two. He now owns the highest winning percentage in the majors at .850, overtaking Kershaw.
“He was mixing it up pretty good,” Muncy said. “His misses were off the corners. He didn’t miss enough to be walking us. Once the shadows started creeping, he was even better.”
New York won its 11th straight game against a left-handed starter and is 25-14 versus lefties this season.
Kershaw (13-3) gave up three homers for the second straight game and has allowed 21 this season — two off his career high of 23 in 2017. The left-hander allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings. He struck out a season-high 12 and walked none.
“I thought I threw the ball better than my last start. I made four mistakes and three went over the fence. That’s no fun,” Kershaw said. “I’ve always said solo home runs won’t beat you, but three probably will. One or two over seven (innings) you can deal with.”
The last six runs Kershaw has allowed have come via solo shots.
Kershaw had won 11 consecutive interleague decisions — tied for second-most all-time — and each of his last six decisions overall. He lost for the first time since June 29 at Colorado.
Ford extended the Yankees’ lead to 3-1 in the sixth, homering into the right field pavilion on the first pitch from Kershaw. New York has homered in eight straight games.
“I grew up watching Kershaw pitch,” Ford said, “and on my first at-bat I was just trying to take a deep breath and see the ball.”
Ford’s RBI double to deep left field made it 4-1 in the eighth. He went 2 for 3 after entering as a pinch-hitter in the third after shortstop Didi Gregorius got hit by a pitch from Kershaw in the first and later left the game.
“This shows that our team is resilient to come in here and win two of three after losing three to Oakland,” Ford said.
Judge, who wears No. 99, launched his 99th career homer in the third, snapping a 1-all tie.
“He loved the big stage,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, “and you can’t keep greatness down for long.”
Judge nearly reached the century mark with a runner on in the eighth. Judge sent a deep fly to center field that A.J. Pollock snagged with the sun in his eyes and his back hitting the wall.
“It felt like a playoff series even before the game,” Judge said. “The fans were rough and emotions were running high.”
The Dodgers tied it with Joc Pederson’s solo shot, his career-high-tying 26th, on German’s first pitch leading off the bottom of the first.
LeMahieu homered to start the game, sending a 1-1 pitch into center field where smoke billowed from a brushfire located 8 miles away. It was the seventh time Kershaw has given up a homer in the first this season.
In the third, Brett Gardner robbed Corey Seager of a potential three-run homer that would have put the Dodgers ahead. Instead, the Yankees center fielder made a grab at the wall to end the inning.
The series ended quietly after plenty of drama in the first two games.
The Yankees hit five homers — including a grand slam by Gregorius — to win the opener 10-2 behind James Paxton on Friday.
The Dodgers rebounded with a 2-1 victory against CC Sabathia on Saturday after closer Kenley Jansen escaped a bases-loaded jam with consecutive strikeouts to end the game.
“People have been saying that our bullpen is our strength,” German said through a translator, “but our starters know that they have to bear down and focus. We did an amazing job in this series.”
∫ TRAINER’S ROOM: Yankees: Gregorius had X-rays that showed a deep bruise of his right shoulder. He’s day to day. … LHP Jordan Montgomery, recovering from Tommy John surgery on June 7 last year, began his minor league rehab assignment with two perfect innings and two strikeouts for Class A Tampa. … 1B-DH Edwin Encarnicion (broken right wrist) took the day off after playing soft toss, running and hitting off a tee a day earlier. … Luke Voit (sports hernia) went 3 for 5 with an RBI and played first base in his third rehab game at Triple-A.