Clayton Kershaw is through two starts in 2013 and has yet to allow a run on the season. He pitched seven scoreless frames on Saturday night against the Pirates, allowed just three baserunners and struck out nine, leading the Dodgers to a 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh.
Kershaw allowed only two hits to Starling Marte and a walk to old friend Russell Martin on the night, and retired 17 straight batters at one point. The walk to Martin was Kershaw's first of the season, to his 53rd batter faced.
Dating back to 2012 Kershaw has pitched 20 consecutive scoreless frames, two innings shy of the longest streak of his career, set last May 8-19. But it gets better than that for Kershaw, who has allowed one run in his last 34 innings. He has given up zero or one run in each of his last seven starts, with four runs (three earned runs) in 51 innings during that span.
But Kershaw was pulled after throwing 97 pitches in seven innings, as his spot was due up first in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Dodgers only up by one run. Kershaw didn't get a chance to become the first Dodger since Hideo Nomo in 1995 to throw back-to-back shutouts, or become the first Dodger to open his season with back-to-back complete games since Tom Candiotti in 1994.
Kershaw will instead settle for his second win of the year, as Paco Rodriguez, Kenley Jansen, and Brandon League recorded the final six outs for the Dodgers' first two-game winning streak of the year.
The difference in the game may have been the speed of Carl Crawford, who singled with two outs in the third inning for the Dodgers' first hit of the game. Crawford stole second base and then scored easily on a single to left by Mark Ellis. A.J. Burnett led all of baseball in 2012 with 38 stolen bases against him, with just two caught stealing. The Dodgers took advantage on Saturday with three steals, two by Crawford.
- The win was the eighth straight by the Dodgers over the Pirates at Dodger Stadium. They are 16-2 in their last 18 in Los Angeles against the Pirates and 30-7 in their last 37 home games against Pittsburgh.
- Crawford went 2-for-3 with a walk, and is batting .438 (7-for-16) in the early going.
- The struggling trio of Matt Kemp (0-for-4 Saturday, 1-for-18 on the season), Luis Cruz (0-for-4, 0-for-17), and Justin Sellers (0-for-4, 0-for-13) were all booed at one point or another on Saturday for failing to come through with runners on base.
- The Dodgers have added four new international prospects with the signing of 18-year-old Mexican right-handed pitcher Victor Arano, 16-year-old Dominican infielder Samuel Ortiz, 19-year-old Mexican outfielder Antonio Torres and 17-year-old Mexican outfielder Ibandel Isabel.
The Dodgers go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon, with Hyun-jin Ryu making his second start of the season, against fellow southpaw Jeff Locke for Pittsburgh.
Home runs: none
WP - Clayton Kershaw (2-0): 7 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
LP - A.J. Burnett (0-2): 5 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Sv - Brandon League (2): 1 IP, 1 walk