There was plenty of excitement heading into Friday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and National-League West leading Arizona Diamondbacks. Sure, both teams were coming off a loss, but Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke were set to duel for the first time.
Ultimately, Greinke’s second start at Dodger Stadium since signing a six-year, $206.5 million contract with the Diamondbacks was another rocky outing, while Kershaw very much appeared at home at the friendly confines of Chavez Ravine.
He retired the first 10 batters faced, losing a no-hitter on a one-out line drive single by Chris Owings in the fourth inning. Kershaw followed that by issuing his first walk of the season, putting Paul Goldschmidt aboard.
However, he kept the Diamondbacks off the board by striking out Yasmany Tomas inducing Brandon Drury into a pop-out. They were part of a string of 12 consecutive batters retired, a streak that stretched into the eighth inning.
Kershaw threw an efficient 87 pitches through eight shutout innings. He finished the night with eight strikeouts, though lost his shutout on an Owings RBI double with one out in the ninth. The hit also prevented Kershaw from turning in a complete game, as he was promptly replaced by Pedro Baez after 8.1 dominant innings.
Had Kershaw finished a complete-game shutout, it would have been the 16th such start of his career. What’s more, he was within reach of throwing a ‘Maddux’ — a complete-game shutout with 99 pitches thrown or less.
Instead, Kershaw settled for another win and improving to 86-0 lifetime when provided at least a four-run lead. Although the three-time Cy Young Award winner overpowered the Diamondbacks, facing Greinke, a close friend, was not enjoyable.