Clayton Kershaw produced the defining performance of Opening Day as the Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to a 4-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Kershaw paid back a chunk of his lucrative new deal on Monday afternoon, grinding down the Giants from the mound before stepping up with a rare and crucial homer in the eighth inning to set the Dodgers on their way to victory.
After producing a complete shutout with the ball, the Dodgers left-hander hit his first career home run off reliever George Kontos. That unusual double feat meant Kershaw became the first player to throw a shutout and hit a home run on Opening Day since Don Drysdale (fittingly, another Dodger) in 1965. Needless to say, the capacity crowd of 53,138 at Dodger Stadium lapped it up.
Although the Giants’ Matt Cain matched Kershaw’s zeroes throughout the opening six innings, he was forced out after throwing 92 pitches and a 29-pitch first inning.
The performance of Clayton Kershaw ensured the Dodgers’ new ownership group had a victory to celebrate on its first Opening Day officially in charge of the team. With L.A. neglecting to take a two-on, no-out opportunity in the very first inning, a duel of pitchers followed, lasting until Kershaw’s homer triggered a flood of runs.
Kershaw has waited some time for his homer: Previously, the 25-year-old had gone 263 career at-bats, striking out in 80 of them, before hitting his decisive run. It was only the second extra-base hit of his career. You can watch the Dodgers ace hit his homer in the video embedded below.
The teams are set to clash again again Tuesday in the second game of a set of three. Feeling positive, Dodgers fans?
[Image via Creative Commons]