While Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw started opposite one another for the first time Friday night, greater intrigue lied with when they’d go head-to-head as a pitcher and batter. They combined to go 0-for-4.
After Corey Seager worked a one-out walk in the bottom of the first inning, Justin Turner nearly gave the Dodgers an early lead but his drive to center field was caught on the warning track. Similarly, Adrian Gonzalez’s deep fly ball was caught at the wall in right field to end the inning.
Kershaw again retired the Diamondbacks in order, and soon after his first at-bat of the game came with added drama. Yasmani Grandal’s one-out single was followed by a Joc Pederson doubled. Yasiel Puig then drew a walk to load the bases.
Kershaw was unable to break a scoreless tie, however, grounding into an inning-ending double play. Greinke, who said he was looking forward to hitting against his former teammate, got a steady does of fastballs during his third-inning at-bat.
Greinke took a 95 mph fastball on the inside corner for strike three to end another perfect inning for Kershaw. The Dodgers managed to break through in the bottom of the third, beginning with a Seager one-out single.
Turner and Gonzalez also singled, and the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead. Logan Forsythe’s RBI base hit added to it, and at that point eight of the first 14 Dodgers had reached base against Greinke. Though, he managed to limit the damage by striking out Grandal and getting Pederson to pop-out.
Greinke didn’t fare as well in the bottom half of the inning after allowing a two-out single to Andrew Toles. Seager walked for a second time on the night, and Turner’s two-run double extended the Dodgers’ lead to 4-0.
Kershaw picked up two strikeouts in the process of throwing a 1-2-3 fifth inning. Forsythe and Grandal hit back-to-back singles with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth. Pederson’s force out put runners on the corners, and Puig’s sacrifice fly padded the lead.
Greinke’s night came to an end at five innings of work. He allowed five runs on 10 hits, issued three walks and had four strikeouts. Greinke allowed eight runs on nine hits, including a career-high five home runs, in 4.2 innings in a start at Dodger Stadium last season.
Kershaw set the Diamondbacks down in order in the seventh, ending the inning with his seventh strikeout of the game. To that point he’d retired 11 batters in a row. It was his second such streak, as Kershaw started the game by retiring the first 10 batters faced.
Nick Ahmed’s one-out single in the eighth snapped Kershaw’s streak, but he followed it by inducing an inning-ending double play one pitch later. He’d thrown 87 pitches through eight innings. Toles’ two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth put more distance between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.
Kershaw flirted with multiple career achievements but ultimately fell short of each. A leadoff single was later cashed in by Owings on a one-out RBI double, ending Kershaw’s shutout bid. He remained at 15 complete-game shutouts in his career.
Moments prior to the double, the left-handed ace lost an opportunity to throw a “Maddux” — a complete-game shutout with no more than 99 pitches. Owings’ hit also knocked Kershaw out of the game at 100 pitches.
Pedro Baez, reinstated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday, made his 2017 debut and worked around a walk to wrap up the Dodgers’ 7-1 win. While Kershaw missed out on historic benchmarks, he did improve to 86-0 during the regular season when given at least a four-run lead.
Kershaw’s lone “Maddux” complete-game shutout came against the San Francisco Giants in a 4-0 win on Opening Day of the 2013 season when he needed just 94 pitches. He’s more infamously remembered for breaking a scoreless tie that afternoon with a solo home run in the eighth inning.