Kershaw not only pitched his ninth complete game and sixth career shutout on Monday, but he broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning with his first major league home run, a bomb to center field off George Kontos. That was the first of four runs scored by the Dodgers in the eighth inning.
The only call to the bullpen made by manager Don Mattingly on Monday afternoon came before the game even started. During the ceremonial first pitch ceremony, Mattingly came to the mound to relieve Magic Johnson in favor of Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who threw to Orel Hershiser, a battery of the Cy Young Award winners from 25 and 50 years ago.
Vin Scully, on the Prime Ticket broadcast, was kind in recounting Koufax's first pitch, saying, "He threw a curve ball, and like all good curves he bounced it."
But the day belonged to Kershaw, who struck out seven, walked none and allowed only four hits. He lowered his career ERA against San Francisco to a miniscule 1.28, the lowest mark ever against the Giants.
In three opening day starts Kershaw has allowed no runs in 19 innings, with nine hits, two walks, and 19 strikeouts. He became the first Dodgers pitcher to start three consecutive opening day wins since Leon "26-inning" Cadore from 1919-1921.
The Dodgers got a break to open the sixth inning when Mark Ellis lifted a sun double into right field, but Cain rebounded to retire Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, and Andre Ethier in order. Cain got his tormenters Gonzalez (.313, 20 for 64, four home runs) and Ethier (.450, 27 for 60).
Cain was magnificent in his own right on Monday, with eight strikeouts in six scoreless innings. But after 93 pitches in his six innings his day was done, which opened the door for Kontos and the Giants bullpen.
WP - Clayton Kershaw (1-0): 9 IP, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts
LP - George Kontos (0-1): 1+ IP, 3 hits, 3 runs