Clayton Kershaw has spent his career in rare territory, but on Monday did something even he hadn't done before. He became the first pitcher in 60 years to pitch a complete game shutout and hit a home run on opening day, the first since Bob Lemon in 1953 for Cleveland.
On the mound, Kershaw was cruising through eight innings. He allowed just three hits to that point and had thrown 85 pitches. But even though the game was scoreless and Kershaw led off the eighth inning, it was obviously his game to finish one way or another.
"I'd rather have my best guy out there one more inning," said manager Don Mattingly.
At the time I tweeted this:
Kershaw (85 pitches through 8 scoreless) should probably just homer to lead off the 8th. Might not see a run otherwise— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) April 1, 2013
The home run broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning
"I was shocked, I didn't know what to expect. What an awesome feeling," Kershaw said. "I was fortunate. I figured I better swing at the first pitch because I already struck out twice and didn't want to strike out again."
For a moment it looked like Kershaw had entered Bob Welch territory. It was Welch who homered against Mario Soto of the Reds on June 17, 1983 for the only run in a complete game shutout of Cincinnati. But the Dodgers rallied for three more runs against the Giants bullpen, so Kershaw has to settle for the 11th shutout/homer game in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
|LA Dodgers shutout / home run combos|
|Clayton Kershaw||Monday||San Francisco||4-0|
|Chan Ho Park||9/29/2000||San Diego||3-0|
|Don Drysdale||7/24/1966||New York||5-0|
|Stan Williams||7/6/1960||San Francisco||10-0|