Clayton Kershaw not only continued his scoreless streak on Thursday night and flirted with perfection, settling for a shutout in the Dodgers' 3-0 win over the Mets in the series opener at Citi Field in New York.
Just 400 days after his first no-hitter, Kershaw looked like he might pitch another. He retired the first 18 batters of the game, needing just 62 pitches to get through the first six frames.
Curtis Granderson broke up the perfect game and the no-hitter with a line drive single to right field to open the seventh inning. That broke up a string of 25 consecutive batters retired, dating back to Kershaw's last start on Sunday in Washington D.C.
Wilmer Flores added a bloop hit to right field one out later, but Kershaw was able to escape the inning unscathed.
Lucas Duda singled to open the eighth inning as well, but Kershaw promptly picked him off first base.
Kershaw struck out 11 in his masterpiece against the Mets, needing only 104 pitches.
With the shutout, Kershaw's second in his last three starts, he extended his scoreless streak to 29 consecutive innings. Kershaw has allowed one run in his last 38 innings.
The closest Kershaw came to allowing a runner to reach base in the first six innings was on a strikeout in the fifth inning. Eric Campbell struck out and nearly reached first base on a wild pitch, but catcher Yasmani Grandal tracked the ball down and threw to first, where Adrian Gonzalez made a clean pick for the out.
On replay it looked like Campbell might have beaten the throw, but the Mets chose not to challenge the play.
Kershaw is the first Dodgers pitcher with two shutouts in the same month since Carlos Perez in September 2008.
Over his last 11 starts, Kershaw is 6-3 with a miniscule 1.21 ERA, with 112 strikeouts and 11 walks.
He has 45 strikeouts since his last walk.
With his 11 strikeouts and no walks, Kershaw now has 38 strikeouts in his last three starts, with no walks and no runs allowed in 26 innings. Since 1914, the only other pitcher in the majors with three straight starts of double-digit strikeouts and no walks was Chris Archer, earlier this season.
Kershaw is the only one dating back to 1900 to have three straight starts with double-digit strikeouts, no walks and no runs allowed, per the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Dodgers needed this type of performance out of Kershaw, and not just because the rest of the weekend rotation is in a bit of disarray. Kershaw was needed to keep the Mets at zero because Bartolo Colon was on his game as well.
Colon pitched eight strong innings of his own, allowing just six people to reach base while striking out four. The only run he allowed was a solo home run by Jimmy Rollins in the third inning, his ninth of the season.
The Dodgers added a pair of insurance runs with three straight singles to open the ninth inning, cashing them in with a walk by Alberto Callaspo and a sacrifice fly by Yasiel Puig.
Home run: Jimmy Rollins (9)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (8-6): 9 IP, 3 hits, 11 strikeouts
LP - Bartolo Colon (9-9): 8 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 4 strikeouts