Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Kershaw in vintage form on no-no anniversary

@kengurnick
June 19, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Five years can be like forever in baseball, so appreciate how remarkable it is that Clayton Kershaw threw seven scoreless innings in a 9-0 win over the Giants on Tuesday night on the anniversary of his 15-strikeout no-hitter against the Rockies way back in 2014. None of

LOS ANGELES -- Five years can be like forever in baseball, so appreciate how remarkable it is that Clayton Kershaw threw seven scoreless innings in a 9-0 win over the Giants on Tuesday night on the anniversary of his 15-strikeout no-hitter against the Rockies way back in 2014.

None of the Dodgers appearing in that no-hitter with Kershaw is still on the team and five of them aren’t playing anywhere. But a remade Kershaw endures, even thrives, relying on sliders and 90 mph fastballs to write linescores nearly as dazzling as the night he thrust his arms to the sky in celebration, as depicted in a commemorative bobblehead given away Tuesday night.

“It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but when you think about all the years in between, it does seem like a long time ago,” said Kershaw, 26 then and now a 31-year-old father of two.

“Your career goes fast, just a blink of an eye and you’re an ex-baseball player, longer than you are a baseball player. I try not to think about it too much, but it seems like it does go fast.”

Box score

He’s asked if he’s proud of his longevity.

“Consistency is always something I respect in guys around the game and something that hopefully I can continue to maybe do a better job now after the last few years being on the DL,” he said. “I feel good now and hopefully I can continue doing this for awhile.”

Kershaw received a contract extension over the winter, then came up with a sore shoulder in Spring Training and missed the first three weeks of the season. But predictions of his demise turned out to be greatly exaggerated.

He allowed three hits and struck out six Giants to improve to 7-1 on the season and 23-11 with a 1.68 ERA in his career against the division rivals. He avenged a 2-1 loss in San Francisco 11 days earlier with his first scoreless start of the season, but 11th quality start in 12 outings, the staff’s 28th quality start in the last 34 games and the Dodgers’ 10th shutout of the season. They are 11-1 this year in starts by Kershaw, whose 2.85 ERA put him back into the National League Top 10.

“He just wills his way to be efficient, to get outs,” said manager Dave Roberts. “It was fun to watch him.”

Pitching on regular rest, Kershaw used 100 pitches and made it sound like this outing was an ordeal, as he wasn’t pleased with his curveball early in the game.

“I got better as the game went on,” he said. “Made some OK pitches when I needed to. It was a little bit of a grind tonight. Got some big plays defensively, got that early lead and tried to take care of it.

“At the end of the day you have a job to do and you’re trying to keep your team in it and when you’re on a team as good as we are, you really don’t have to do a whole lot,” he said. “Just keep your team in it the best you can and we end up winning a lot.”

The early lead came on Joc Pederson’s 19th home run leading off the game, followed by an Alex Verdugo single and a Justin Turner RBI double. That score stood until Chris Taylor’s RBI safety-squeeze single in the sixth inning. The Dodgers offense that has struggled for nearly two weeks blew open the game with a six-run seventh inning, the big blow an Enrique Hernández grand slam.

Cody Bellinger made the key defensive play for the Dodgers, leaping in front of the right-field fence to catch Tyler Austin’s fly with one out in the sixth inning after Kershaw issued a leadoff walk to Donovan Solano. Solano was caught stealing on a Kershaw pickoff.

“Belly made an awesome play right there,” Kershaw said. “That’s the inning I walked the leadoff guy and that’s a big no-no.”

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.