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Two wins earn Kershaw NL Player of Week Award

Left-hander threw 16 shutout innings, struck out 16, homered once in opening week

Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw won his third career National League Player of the Week honor Monday after turning in one of the best opening weeks by a starting pitcher in Major League history.

Along with not allowing a run during his perfect 2-0 start, Kershaw clubbed his first career home run to break a scoreless eighth-inning tie against the Giants on Opening Day. He pitched a four-hit shutout, with seven strikeouts and no walks.

The southpaw was even more dominant his second time out, limiting the Pirates to only two hits Saturday while striking out nine over seven shutout frames.

"It's hard to say you've seen him pitch better when he hasn't given up any runs," manager Don Mattingly said after Kershaw's second outing. "But we've seen stretches where he's pretty much like this every time out. He's obviously throwing the ball good. He's been really good."

Kershaw finished the week throwing a Major League-high 16 innings, while his 16 strikeouts placed him third among NL pitchers. The lefty is scheduled to put his shutout streak on the line Friday in Arizona, where he takes the hill against the D-backs at Chase Field.

Paul Casella is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.
Read More: Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw