Starting a big-league game for the first time since July 23, Clayton Kershaw looked very much like the same Clayton Kershaw he was before walking off the mound with a lower back strain that day.His curveball had its usual bite, his slider the familiar hiss. And the San Diego Padres were as thoroughly overmatched as they usually are against Kershaw.The Dodgers rested ace allowed just two harmless infield singles in six scoreless innings in his return, putting a stop to the Dodgers’ five-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over the Padres, who didn’t even hit a ball out of the infield all game. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “He looked good. It’s nice to have him back,” said Chase Utley who drove in the game’s only run with a two-out RBI single in the sixth inning. “Looked like he hadn’t missed a beat.”The six weeks he spent on the DL seemed to melt away quickly in the Southern California heat Friday night – except for Kershaw, whose only sign of pain came when he recalled all that down time.“It felt like a long time,” he said.Nonetheless, Kershaw picked up right where he left off in what could be another Cy Young season despite his time on the DL. He has allowed just two earned runs in his past 44 innings (layoff included). He went to the DL with a major-league low 2.04 ERA. He came back Friday still the low man in the ERA race and lowered it to 1.95.“I expected him to be himself,” Utley said. “Having been around him for a couple years now, I think he’s the same every day. You guys all see how hard he works.“He deserves to pitch the way he does.”Kershaw has said he felt healthy enough to be pitching in the big leagues a few weeks ago and had to be convinced that a rehab start was a necessary step to returning. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged that the team had used the luxury of their runaway lead in the NL West to “slow-play” Kershaw’s return, erring wholly on the side of caution with a pitcher who spent 75 days on the DL with a more serious back injury last season.The left-hander seemed intent on proving his point at the Padres’ expense.Roberts said before the game that a loose limit of five innings and 75 pitches was the “baseline” for Kershaw’s first game back. But he cruised through six innings on a hyper-efficient 70 pitches. Only 17 were called balls and Kershaw didn’t go to a three-ball count on anyone until the final batter he faced.“I didn’t expect him to be that sharp, to be quite honest,” Roberts said. “But you can never underestimate him. The sharpness of all of his pitches – fastball to both sides of the plate, the slider, introducing the curveball early – he was on point.”Manuel Margot beat out a chopper over the mound to start the first inning. Kershaw retired the next 12 batters before Yangervis Solarte reached on another ground ball that shortstop Chris Taylor stopped on the outfield grass but couldn’t make a play on.Those were the only baserunners in Kershaw’s six innings – and Solarte’s grounder to the outfield grass was as close as the Padres got to making a Dodgers outfielder field a ball Friday night. Kershaw struck out seven, impressing everyone but himself.“Efficiency-wise, I think it was as good as you could have expected or hoped,” Kershaw said.“You never truly know until you get back on a big-league mound and get big-league hitters out. So tonight was definitely a step in the right direction. You cross over that hurdle, get the first one out of the way. I’m not sure about the next one but there shouldn’t be that much of a pitch count for that next one. So – getting as close to normal as you can get.”The Dodgers’ offense is still looking to get back to normal. Padres starter Dinelson Lamet scattered six hits while striking out 10 in his six innings.“I think one part of it is the unfamiliarity,” Roberts said. “This kid, if you look at his past starts, he’s spit out some good ones. He’s got a good arm and we couldn’t really get on that slider. He was striking the slider when he needed to, when he was behind in the count. He kept us off balance. We didn’t really get a whole lot of good swings off him. That at-bat by Chase, the two-out hit, was big.”Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger led off the sixth with singles off Lamet. They were still standing at first and second two outs later. But Utley came through with a two-out, RBI single to drive in Turner.That gave the Dodgers their first lead in a game since last Friday.Brandon Morrow, Tony Watson and Kenley Jansen made it stand up by retiring the final nine Padres batters in order, striking out six. SAN DIEGO >> Get together with old friends for the first time in awhile and everyone falls back into their familiar roles as if no time has passed.It was just like that.