Clayton Kershaw’s historic opening day: a shutout and a homer

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Round one goes to Clayton Kershaw.

Starting a season in which the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants rivalry should be even more bitter than usual, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Monday was a one-man Giant killer.

He pitched a four-hit shutout and hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to break a 0-0 tie, assuring both sides of the Dodgers' eventual 4-0 victory. In doing both, he also made history. A few facts:

• He's only the second pitcher since 1921 to hit a home run and a throw a shutout on opening day. The other was Bob Lemon in 1953.

• He's the 15th pitcher on opening day to throw a complete-game shutout with less than four hits and no walks. None of the other pitchers hit home runs.

• He's the first pitcher to hit an opening day home run since since Joe Magrane in 1988. He's the first Dodger pitcher to hit an opening day homer since 1965 when Don Drysdale did it.

• It was Kershaw's first career home run. In his previous 334 career at-bats, he only had one other extra-base hit.

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Until Kershaw's homer, the Giants and Dodgers had been locked in a pitcher's duel. Giants ace Matt Cain threw six shutout innings allowing four hits and striking out eight. Kershaw motored along too. He finished with seven strikeouts. After Kershaw's blast, the Dodgers piled three more runs onto the Giants in the eighth.

For round two, the two teams will meet Tuesday with Madison Bumgarner facing Dodgers rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Opening Day is here. Don't miss anything.
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