How close was Clayton Kershaw to a perfect game tonight?
Kershaw retired the first six Milwaukee Brewers tonight on 16 pitches, then walked Rickie Weeks, who had a .554 OPS entering the game, on five.
His next pitch was a ball to Yuniesky Betancourt, who followed with a single. Two infield outs later, Weeks scored.
Ryan Braun singled in the fourth and sixth innings, and Norichika Aoki reached base on a Dee Gordon throwing error in the eighth.
That was it: 107 pitches, 32 batters, 22 first-pitch strikes, three hits, one walk, five strikeouts. On five days’ rest after throwing a career-high 132 pitches, Kershaw dusted the Brewers, 3-1.
It wasn’t a perfect game. It wasn’t a shutout. But there should be a noun for the ease and control that Kershaw (who also singled in three at-bats) dominated Milwaukee.
Kershaw walked Weeks for the same reason Vin Scully sometimes says the wrong name, for that one time that Mother Theresa asked for seconds, for that spot on the Sistine Chapel floor where MIchelangelo let a drop of paint drip.
Kershaw threw a Kershaw.
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Nice to see you again, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp.
Ethier tripled and homered. Kemp walked and homered. For Kemp, it was home run No. 2 on the season and really the first one he blasted, because home run No. 1 was an inside-out job that barely cleared the right-field fence in New York’s Citi Field.