Clayton Kershaw wins 200th game as Dodgers shut out Mets

LOS ANGELES ― The first win of Clayton Kershaw’s career was unlike his 200th in some ways, but perhaps the most important was this: his teammates smashed a shaving cream pie in his face to christen the occasion.“Hopefully,” Kershaw said on July 27, 2008, “there’s more to come.”

Five ERA titles, three Cy Young Awards, one National League MVP and one championship ring later, Kershaw notched win number 200 on a cool April night at Dodger Stadium, joining Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer as the only active pitchers to reach the milestone.

Kershaw’s performance was a familiar one. He did not allow a run for seven innings, striking out nine New York Mets in a 5-0 win. J.D. Martinez hit two home runs, driving in four of the five runs before an announced crowd of 46,884 at Dodger Stadium.

After striking out Tommy Pham to end a dramatic seventh inning on his 105th pitch, Kershaw uttered a primal scream and pumped both fists in the air as he walked off the mound.

“I don’t know if it was the moment or what,” he said. “It was kind of a big moment in the game more than anything. I think that’s where that emotion came from. It wasn’t planned or anything. I just roared a little bit.”

Kershaw’s 105 pitches were his most in a game since June 16, 2021. He threw a first-pitch strike to 19 of the 24 batters he faced. For six innings, the only hit he allowed was an infield single to Francisco Lindor.

The seventh inning was an adventure.

Lindor battled for nine pitches before striking out on a hanging slider. Pete Alonso struck out on the third pitch of his at-bat. The next batter, Mark Canha, fouled off seven pitches with a full count before punching a single into right field to extend the inning.Kershaw allowed another single to Jeff McNeil, putting runners on first and third. Then he came back to strike out Tommy Pham on a classic slider to end the inning. The 2,833rd strikeout of Kershaw’s career tied Mickey Lolich for 22nd all-time.

“Tonight’s performance really kind of epitomized who he is as a competitor,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

The game began when right fielder Jason Heyward dropped a fly ball off the bat of Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo reached third base by the time Heyward relayed the ball back to the infield, immediately putting Kershaw into the stretch position.

Setting a tone for the game to come, Kershaw struck out Starling Marte, Lindor, and Alonso to end the inning and strand Nimmo at third base.

“I’m not really trying to prevent that run, obviously,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep it to one. But after you get that first strikeout you kind of maybe think you’ll be able to do it. ”

The Mets threatened to score again in the eighth inning against Evan Phillips. With a runner on first base, second baseman Miguel Vargas leaped to catch a Brett Baty line drive, then threw quickly to first baseman Freddie Freeman to double up pinch runner Francisco Alvarez.

Brusdar Graterol pitched a scoreless ninth to complete the shutout and seal the milestone victory for Kershaw.

Back in the clubhouse, a champagne toast awaited Kershaw. Catcher Austin Barnes and first baseman Freddie Freeman each spoke. Several souvenirs from the game were authenticated for Kershaw to keep: some game-used balls, including the last out; the official lineup card and three replicas; his jersey and spikes.

Kershaw’s wife Ellen and his children congratulated him outside the clubhouse. They had been planning for the moment.

“I think after the last (win) Ellen was trying to decide whether to stay or go back home to school,” he said. “We started thinking about it then. I told her, it’s not a guarantee, but she stayed, which I’m thankful for.”

Martinez’s two home runs staked Kershaw (3-1) to an early 3-0 lead against Los Alamitos High product Tylor Megill (3-1). The veteran designated hitter finished 4 for 5 as the Dodgers’ No. 3 hitter.

Source: bulawayo24

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