It couldn’t last forever, but if it was going to last for forever, Clayton Kershaw would have been the man to do it.
His scoreless innings streak came to an end at 41 on Thursday night thanks to a Chase Headley home run. Headley battled Kershaw in the sixth inning, fouling off three pitches — including a 95 MPH fastball — before hitting the solo home run.
For whatever reason, it appears only full innings are counting in a scoreless innings streak, hence the missing 2/3 of an inning tonight. If you want to really dive into it, he got the final out in the top of the third inning on June 13 against the Diamondbacks. So, he really had 42 consecutive scoreless innings. We could just call it 126 consecutive outs before allowing a run.
But more importantly (and he’d say it himself), the Dodgers won 2-1 and moved back into sole possession of first place in the National League West (thank you, A’s!).
Kershaw’s streak was the 15th-longest of all-time, and third-longest in Dodger franchise history.
The Dodgers scored their first run when Yasiel Puig hit a line drive off Padres’ starter Odrisamer Despaigne‘s leg for a hustle double. With two outs and Puig at third base, Scott Van Slyke had an “excuse me” swing that went into short right-center field for an RBI single.
Hanley Ramirez led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single. He stole second and moved to third base on an errant throw from catcher Yasmani Grandal. Puig grounded out to shortstop, and Ramirez was unable to score. Adrian Gonzalez, after hitting into a double play in the first inning with runners on the corner and one out, was able to lift a ball off to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
But back to Kershaw. This was the first time he faced the Padres all season, and if not for a great at-bat by Headley, would have continued his scoreless innings streak. Kershaw’s final line: 9 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 115 pitches, 85 strikes, 6/7 GO/AO.
Some questioned why Kershaw was going out for the ninth instead of a well-rested (hasn’t pitched in a week) Kenley Jansen, and rightfully so. However, this is Kershaw’s last start of the “first” half, and he’ll throw no more than two innings in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, so there’s plenty of time to recuperate from this outing.
He is, without question, the game’s best pitcher, and we’re lucky to be watching greatness. Do not take him for granted.
Some numbers during his streak:
0 R (DUH)
Is that good?
With the win, the Dodgers improve to 52-42, while the Padres fall to 40-52. Dan Haren (8-5, 4.06 ERA) looks to bounce back from a poor outing in Colorado last time out. He’ll face Jesse Hahn (4-2, 2.34 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific.