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Clayton Kershaw day by day: Split with the Cubs & Rockies

Two career Kershaw starts on May 2

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies

Clayton Kershaw made two career starts on May 2, though it’s been eight years since his last one. These two starts came in 2011 and 2012, with Kershaw pitching deep into both games.

The first May 2 game for Kershaw came in 2011 at home against the Cubs. Three straight Chicago hits — not 25 or 6 to 4, You’re the Inspiration, or Hard to Say I’m Sorry — plated a run in the first inning against him, but the Dodgers assumed the lead in the second inning thanks to Ivan DeJesus Jr. picking up his first major league RBI.

Later in the game, Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 28 games (it would get to 30, one shy of the club record). Kershaw and the Dodgers won 5-2. From my game recap:

Kershaw gave up some hits early, and didn’t strikeout a single batter until the fourth inning, but his pitch count also wasn’t inflated early and he was able to pitch seven easy innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, without walking a batter.

That was Kershaw’s 90th career start. One year later he made his 122nd start, against the Rockies at the dreaded Coors Field.

Kershaw only allowed a single and a walk in his first three innings, but kept the Rockies off the board until Carlos Gonzalez homered to lead off the fourth. Wilin Rosario did the same one inning later, and this was a low-scoring affair, 2-1 Rockies through seven innings.

At only 79 pitches through seven innings, Kershaw was an easy choice to take the mound in the eighth inning, especially after the Dodgers took the lead in the top of the inning thanks to a two-run double to by Jerry Hairston Jr. It made up for a play earlier that cost Hairston a hit, one of the worst out calls you’ll ever see, by Tim Welke.

Armed with a lead, Kershaw faced four batters in the eighth inning, but only recorded one out, and that was a sacrifice bunt. Singles by Marco Scutaro and Dexter Fowler produced the tying run, then Gonzalez knocked Kershaw out of the game with a two-run homer. From my game recap:

It was the first time Clayton Kershaw had allowed three home runs in a game in his career, and Gonzalez became just the second player to hit two home runs off Kershaw in a game, joining Adam Dunn on August 6, 2010.

What once was a low-scoring game suddenly was a slugfest. Dee Gordon kept the Dodgers alive with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the ninth to tie things up, but then Jason Giambi walked off Scott Elbert with a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning.

The outings

2011 (W, 3-3): 7 IP, 8 hits, 2 runs, 4 strikeouts

2012: 7⅓ IP, 7 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Up next: Another two-start day on May 3