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The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw's first career home run sparked a four-run eighth inning, and the left-hander threw a four-hit shutout to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-0 win over the defending champion San Francisco Giants in the season opener Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw smacked the first pitch he saw from reliever George Kontos over the center field wall to break up a scoreless contest. It was only the second extra-base hit of Kershaw's career. A .146 lifetime hitter, Kershaw had a double last season.

Kershaw, who went the distance, struck out seven and walked none on 94 pitches.

The Dodgers added three more runs after the Kershaw homer. Carl Crawford, who went 2-for-4 in his Dodgers debut, doubled to left field, took third on Mark Ellis' bunt single, then scored on a wild pitch by Giants reliever Santiago Casilla. Andre Ethier and catcher A.J. Ellis added RBI groundouts.

Kontos, who took the loss, was charged with three runs and three hits in one-plus inning.

Kontos' rough outing overshadowed a strong performance by San Francisco starter Matt Cain. The right-hander struck out eight in six scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and one walk. Cain threw 93 pitches, almost a third of those coming in the first inning, before being relieved by Kontos in the seventh.

Cain pitched himself into a jam in the first inning but managed to escape it. He gave up a leadoff infield single to Crawford, then hit Mark Ellis with a pitch in the back. Cain struck out Matt Kemp, and with Adrian Gonzalez at the plate with one out, catcher Buster Posey threw out Crawford attempting to steal third.

After walking Gonzalez, Cain fanned Andre Ethier to end the inning.

NOTES: Twenty-one of the 25 players on the Giants' roster played on last season's team. The new additions are right handed pitcher Chad Gaudin, infielder Nick Noonan, catcher Guillermo Quiroz and outfielder Andres Torres. Noonan is the only rookie on the club. ... Despite compiling a 1.62 ERA in 39 innings, Kershaw went 2-3 against the Giants last season. He also held the Giants to a .197 batting average. ... Dodgers part owner Magic Johnson was scheduled to throw out the first pitch to former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser, now an ESPN announcer. But in a nice slice of humor, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly bolted from the dugout and motioned for a reliever to lift Johnson. Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax emerged, much to the delight of the crowd, and Koufax proceeded to throw out the first pitch. ... The game drew a sellout crowd of 53,138.

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