Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw pitched seven scoreless innings. (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
Clayton Kershaw is pitching like a man who expects to be perfect. And when he is not, he actually gets upset with himself.
Kershaw needed to skirt with perfection Saturday night, making a lone run stand up for a 1-0 victory for the Dodgers over the Pirates before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 39,446.
Kershaw gave up a bloop hit to Starling Marte on his first pitch of the game and then retired the next 17 consecutive Pirates. Marte also collected the only other hit Pittsburgh managed against Kershaw when it was ruled, questionably, he beat out an infield single in the sixth.
Kershaw also walked his first batter of the season, giving ex-teammate Russell Martin a pass with two outs in the seventh. Kershaw was visibly upset at walking Russell, who is 0 for 14 at the plate this season. Then, his ex-catcher or not, he picked Martin off first.
He called it a night after seven innings and 97 pitches, having allowed the two hits and a walk. He was two innings away from opening the season with consecutive shutouts.
As it is, in two games Kershaw is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 16 strikeouts, six hits and a walk in 16 innings pitched.
Paco Rodriguez, Kenley Jansen and Brandon League completed the shutout for the Dodgers. The Dodgers also shut out the Pirates Friday night. League earned his second save in as many nights.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers offense struggled to put up much of an attack against right-hander A.J. Burnett. The game’s only run came in the third when, with two outs, Carl Crawford beat out an infield hit, stole second and scored on a Mark Ellis single to left.
The Dodgers came into the game 4 for 32 with runners in scoring position, and went 2 for 14 on Saturday. They left 10 on base.
The Dodgers had a chance to give Kershaw some breathing room when they loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. But the hitless wonders, Luis Cruz and Justin Sellers, came up empty after each had worked the count to 3-1. Cruz popped up and is now 0 for 16, and Sellers bounced into a fielder’s choice and is now hitless in 12 at-bats.
Both left runners on again in the eighth.
Kershaw struck out nine Pirates. He allowed only three balls to be hit out of the infield.
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