On Sunday morning Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts surmised Clayton Kershaw was “exactly where” he needed to be with relation to preparing for Opening Day of the 2018 season. Kershaw then went out and dominated for five innings against the San Diego Padres, and drove a go-ahead run for good measure.
The Cactus League start was Kershaw’s fifth of the spring, and one in which he extended his scoreless streak to 14.2 innings. The three-time Cy Young Award winner finished with eight strikeouts, needing only 70 pitches to get through the scheduled work.
Kershaw struck out the side in the second inning, putting away one batter on a slider, another with a curveball and the third on a fastball.
The Padres did manage to put some traffic on the bases, as Wil Myers and Jose Pirela hit back-to-back infield singles with one out in the first inning. Chase Headley led off the second with a base hit and Eric Hosmer lined a one-out single to left field in the third.
Padres’ starter Tyson Ross’ single in the fifth was the last of the team’s hits off Kershaw. He was subsequently stranded by Manuel Margot and Hosmer.
For as well as Kershaw pitched, Ross similarly stifled the Dodgers. He issued two walks and didn’t have nearly the same number of strikeouts (three) but Ross did hold Los Angeles without a hit through four innings.
Kiké Hernadnez’s leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth dashed any hope for a Spring Training no-hitter and knocked Ross out of the game. Although his work on the mound was done, Kershaw batted for himself for the second time.
It paid dividends for the Dodgers, as he lined a two-out RBI double to center field, breaking up a scoreless tie. The lead was short-lived, however, Hunter Renfroe hit a game-tying home run off Adam Liberatore in the sixth.
The Dodgers were then stung by the long ball for a second time, Freddy Galvis hit a go-ahead homer off Travis Jankowski in the eighth inning that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 game.