Clayton Kershaw didn’t just dominate the Giants on the mound in today’s season opener. He also made some unexpected noise with his bat.
In a masterful performance, Kershaw tossed his sixth career shutout in a 4-0 win over the defending World Series champions. The 25-year-old southpaw held the Giants to just four measly singles while fanning seven and walking just one. He needed just 94 pitches to get the job done.
The Dodgers couldn’t get anything going against Matt Cain, so their ace ultimately had to take matters into his own hands. The game remained scoreless until Kershaw led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a solo home run to straight-away center field off George Kontos. Pretty good timing for the first home run of his major league career. In fact, it was also just his second extra-base hit in the big leagues. It was truly a surreal moment at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers tacked on three more runs in the frame before Kershaw finished off the Giants in the top of the ninth.
Kershaw is the first pitcher to homer on Opening Day since Joe Magrane in 1988 and the first Dodger to do it since Don Drysdale in 1965. He’s also the first pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a home run on Opening Day since Bob Lemon did it for the Indians back in 1953. Today’s performance was pretty much Kershaw’s way of asking, “Can I have my $200 million now, please?”
Here’s the video of Kershaw’s home run:
Triple plays are rare. Triple plays in which only two players touch the ball are even more rare. But last night the Texas Rangers turned a triple play that was even more rare than that. Indeed, it was the sort of triple play that had not been turned since a couple of months after the Titanic sank.
Here’s how it went down:
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the fourth inning, David Fletcher of the Angels hit a sharp one-hopper, fielded by third baseman Jurickson Profar. He stepped on third, getting the runner on second base in a force out. He then quickly tagged Taylor Ward, who had been on third base but had broken, thinking the ball was going to get through, and who froze before figuring out what to do. Profar then threw to Rougned Odor, who stepped on second to force the runner out who had been on first. Watch:
Like a lot of weird triple plays, not everyone was sure what had happened immediately. Odor, for example, had already made the third out when he touched the bag but he still attempted to tag out the runner from first, likely not yet having processed it all. The announcer wasn’t aware of it either. Understandable given how fast it all happened. It took me a couple of times watching it to figure it all out.
The historic part of it: according to STATS, Inc., it was the first triple play in 106 years in which the batter was not retired. The last time it happened: June 3, 1912, turned by the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Cincinnati Reds.