National League Game Summary - San Francisco at Los Angeles
(Monday, April 1st)
Final Score: Los Angeles 4, San Francisco 0
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Clayton Kershaw spun a four-hit shutout and clubbed a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-0 victory over the defending champion San Francisco Giants in the season-opener for both teams at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw (1-0) struck out seven en route to his sixth career shutout and ninth career complete game, while his first career homer provided all the offense the Dodgers would need.
"It was a shock. I never hit one like that before," Kershaw said of his home run. "I thought I better swing at the first pitch since I struck out the first two times."
The left-hander is only the second pitcher in major league history to hit a home run and pitch a shutout on Opening Day. Hall of Famer Bob Lemon accomplished the feat in 1953 with the Cleveland Indians.
Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis each added an RBI, while Carl Crawford and Mark Ellis collected a pair of hits and a run scored apiece for the Dodgers, who went 86-76 last season and missed the playoffs for the third straight year.
George Kontos (0-1) absorbed the loss after giving up three runs on three hits -- including Kershaw's blast -- in the eighth inning.
Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval each had two hits to account for San Francisco's four hits, while starter Matt Cain fanned eight and scattered four hits over six scoreless frames for the Giants, who claimed their seventh World Series title in franchise history last season.
"Matt gave us what we needed," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said of Cain. "He threw six zeros. We just couldn't get a run."
Both offenses struggled to put anything together over the first seven frames, as neither team moved a runner past second base.
With Kershaw's pitch count sitting at 85 after he struck out Brandon Crawford to end the top of the eighth, Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly elected to let the lefty hurler leadoff the bottom half rather than go with a pinch-hitter.
The move paid immediate dividends, as Kershaw scorched Kontos' first offering of the frame over the wall in center field to break a scoreless tie.
Crawford followed with a double into the left-field corner before moving to third on Mark Ellis' bunt single. Kontos was promptly removed in favor of Santiago Casilla, who uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Crawford to race home from third to make it 2-0.
Casilla went on to walk Matt Kemp before Jeremy Affeldt took over on the mound and plunked Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases with no outs.
Ellis then scored on Ethier's groundout and after Affeldt intentionally walked Luis Cruz, A.J. Ellis added an RBI groundout to push the lead to 4-0.
Pagan smacked a one-out single in the ninth to give the Giants life, but Kershaw got Marco Scutaro to pop out before grounding out Sandoval to put the finishing touches on his stellar outing.
Kershaw was making his third straight Opening Day start ... San Francisco won the season series from the Dodgers last year, 10-8, and knocked them out of NL wild-card contention in the next-to-the-last game of the regular season ... Cain went 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA last season and threw a perfect game, as well as the World Series clincher ... LA went just 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, while San Francisco failed on its only such opportunity.