"The game fit the script, I think," he said after a 4-3 win at Miller Park.
The best parts of the story came during the Brewers' three-run rally in the decisive eighth inning.
There was Hector Gomez, a rookie who said he'd dreamed of hitting his first career home run against a big-time pitcher, doing exactly that against Kershaw. There was Adam Lind, a left-handed batter who had never faced Kershaw, working a nine-pitch at-bat that ended with a critical double. There was Carlos Gomez, in his third game off the disabled list, greeting reliever Chris Hatcher with a tying double, one pitch after showing bunt. And there was Ryan Braun, beating a go-ahead infield single that was in limbo for a harrowing minute or two while the umpires revisited the replay.
Those components added up to an uplifting victory for a team with a precious few this season, and another career highlight for a new manager who grew up mere miles away and cheered for the team he now leads.
Said Lind: "I'm sure he didn't really anticipate being where he's at a week ago. But he's here, and it couldn't have been a better day to start with."
The day appeared to belong to Kershaw, who needed only 76 pitches to get through the first seven innings, while allowing one run and three hits. One of them was a sixth-inning triple for Hector Gomez, who made his first start of the season at shortstop because Jean Segura had been beaned the day before.
Two innings later, Gomez connected against Kershaw again for a home run into the Brewers' bullpen that made it 3-2. Gomez was the first player ever to triple and homer against Kershaw in the same game, and was so excited afterward, he said he wouldn't sleep.
"It's amazing," Gomez said.
Up next was Lind, who has had some success against left-handed pitchers this season but began Monday on the bench with Kershaw on the mound. Lind had never faced the reigning National League MVP and Cy Young Award winner, but he fought for nine pitches before lining a double off the wall.
The Brewers' other Gomez -- Carlos -- batted next, and greeted the right-hander Hatcher with a double that tied the game at 3. He was able to get to third base on a groundout to shortstop before Braun hit a broken-bat grounder softly toward third base and beat Juan Uribe's throw.
With a 4-3 lead, Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save. As the Brewers high-fived, Rodriguez flipped Counsell the game ball.
"You could see it, you could feel it, you could sense it. It was a special energy tonight," Braun said. "It had an atmosphere we hadn't been a part of for a very long time. It is special for us to have an opportunity to get [Counsell] his first victory. For us to come back and win a game against the best pitcher on the planet who was really on top of his game throwing well, it was special."
Maybe Counsell saw it coming.
"I think those guys wrote a pretty good story," he said.