Recap: Clayton Kershaw Perfect Over 7 Innings To Help Dodgers Sweep Twins

Clayton Kershaw was perfect over his seven innings of work as the Los Angeles Dodgers rode an early lead to a 7-0 win and series sweep of the Minnesota Twins.

In his first start of the season, Kershaw flashed a patented curveball and slider en route to collecting 13 strikeouts. Kershaw did not deal with any traffic on the basepaths as he filled up the strike zone and only reached a three-ball count three times.

Kershaw struck out two batters in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings. He continued to dominate into the second half of the game and struck out the side in the sixth.

Kershaw had stretched out to five innings and 75 pitches in a simulated game last week, which delayed his 2022 regular season. Nevertheless, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts kept the bigger picture in mind and removed Kershaw at 80 pitches.

Kershaw historically has shown plenty of emotion and disagreement when being removed what he believed to be prematurely, but the three-time Cy Young Award winner was smiling and laughing with teammates in the dugout during the top of the eighth inning.

Aside from the three-ball counts, the closest Kershaw came to losing his perfect game was on a one-hopper that skipped off the mound but was scooped by Gavin Lux for an impressive play while shifted behind second base.

The start was Kershaw’s first of his career at Target Field. He now only has yet to make a regular season start at Fenway Park, Globe Life Field and Camden Yards. Of course, Kershaw has made postseason starts at Fenway (2018) and Globe Life (2020).

Alex Vesia allowed a one-out single in the eighth inning to break up the combined perfect game, but he and Justin Bruihl combined to keep the shutout intact.

Dodgers lineup erupts

The Dodgers’ offense got started early with an opposite-field double from Mookie Betts to open the game. Trea Turner then extended his hitting streak 26 games with an infield single and after Max Muncy was hit by a pitch, Justin Turner lined a two-run single into right field.

After Betts led off the second inning with a base hit and Freddie Freeman doubled, Trea Turner extended the Dodgers’ lead to 3-0 with a sacrifice fly.

Kershaw did his part to protect that and the Dodgers ultimately broke the game open with back-to-back-to-back home runs by Cody Bellinger, Lux and Austin Barnes in the eighth inning. The homers were firsts of the season for Bellinger and Lux, but Barnes leads the team with two.

Dodgers perfect game

While Kershaw again came close, Sandy Koufax remains the only pitcher to throw a perfect game in Dodgers history.

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