Japanese rookie Kenta Maeda

Japanese rookie Kenta Maeda scored a career-high on Sunday, striking out 13 batters in seven innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 win over the San Diego Padres in the Major League Baseball.

Maeda (8-6) retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced and struck out six straight near the end of his outing. He allowed a run on Derek Norris’ homer in the fifth and two hits, AP reported.

“For our guys we stayed focused on winning each game. We didn’t concern ourselves with players who were hurt or what people were saying about us,” Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts told NBC Los Angeles, on the first half of the season. “There was a couple stretches where we could have gone the other way, but we didn’t. That was very encouraging.”

Maeda (8-6) was amazing in easily his best MLB start as he allowed just one run on two hits with a career-high 13 strikeouts in seven superb innings. “I was able to command all my pitches, especially the slider,” Maeda said through an interpreter of his success with the strikeout. “I was able to manipulate my slider so that it looked like a strike, but it was really a ball.”

Maeda fell one punch-out shy of teammate Clayton Kershaw’s season record of 14 and was the first Dodger starting pitcher since Kershaw to pitch into the seventh inning since June 20.

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