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Clayton Kershaw day by day: Trouble with the curve

Kershaw’s lone career start on May 11 came in 2014 against the Giants

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The lone career May 11 start by Clayton Kershaw was a no-decision for the Dodgers left-hander, known for a rare home run allowed against his curveball.

The Dodger were finishing off a weekend series against the Giants at Dodger Stadium on May 11, 2014, and Kershaw was relatively cruising with a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning. After a Pablo Sandoval single to open the frame, Brandon Hicks took Kershaw deep on an 0-2 curve, giving San Francisco the lead.

From my game recap:

It was the first regular season home run ever allowed by Kershaw on a curveball, according to pitch tracking by both FanGraphs and Brooks Baseball. Kershaw did allow one postseason home run on a curveball, to Matt Holliday in game 2 of the 2009 NLCS.

An ESPN feature by Joseph Werner in November 2013 pointed out three other home runs off Kershaw curveballs, but the point still stands. Whether Hicks’ blast was the second or the fifth home run hit off a Kershaw curve, it just doesn’t happen all that often.

“For me to give up that home run after we just get the lead right back was disappointing. The team played so well, and I kind of gave it up there in the end,” Kershaw said. “I need to shut the door right there.”

The Dodgers rallied to send the game into extras, but the Giants scored three runs in the 10th inning to capture the win and the series. Nine innings wasn’t quite enough for the Dodgers early in 2014, with 10 of their first 39 games going at least 10 innings. LA was 3-7 in those games. They only played eight more extra-inning games in the final 123 games of the season.

The outing: 7 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 9 strikeouts

Up next: We have a three-start day coming on May 12