The last time Clayton Kershaw was perfect, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts ended his bid for history due to a high pitch count. Roberts also took into account Kershaw was making just his first start of the 2022 season and had yet to fully stretch out.
“Felt like we made the right choice in the moment, and obviously you wake up the next morning and think, ‘What if?’,” Kershaw said two days later. “But at the end of the day, in the moment, it felt like the right decision. Can’t go back now.
There were no such limitations in place Friday night at Angel Stadium, and Kershaw received stellar defensive plays from Justin Turner, Hanser Alberto and Trea Turner as he got through seven perfect innings.
But as the feeling of Kershaw potentially throwing his first career perfect game began to shift closer to becoming a reality, Luis Rengifo led off the eighth inning with a double. That was the lone hit Kershaw allowed over eight shutout innings against the Los Angeles Angels.
Per Elias Sports, Kershaw became the first pitcher in the Expansion Era (since 1961) to have a perfect game through seven innings multiple times in the same season.
“That was a vintage Kershaw performance,” Justin Turner said after the Dodgers’ 9-1 win. “He had all his pitches working, had his pitch count down. There was a point in the middle of the game where you kind of know what’s going on and we had a really good feeling about it.
“That was dominance right there.”
Kershaw joins Don Larsen in MLB history
Kershaw’s dominant performance against the Angels also put him into the MLB record book as the first pitcher since Don Larsen to throw at least eight innings while allowing just one baserunner to an opponent from the same metro area.
Lasren accomplished the feat when he threw a perfect game for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.
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