LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night overwhelmed the Rockies with the first no-hitter of his career in an 8-0 victory at Dodger Stadium.
Less than a month after Josh Beckett threw a no-hitter in Philadelphia, Kershaw made it 12 in Los Angeles Dodgers history (four by Koufax) and the 22nd in franchise history.
Kershaw could joke afterward, but he admitted feeling nerves going into the ninth inning with a chance at making history. So did his catcher and one of his best friends, A.J. Ellis.
The only other season the Dodgers had two no-hitters thrown was 1956, when Carl Erskine and Sal Maglie turned the trick for the Brooklyn Dodgers. That club, which also included Koufax, went to the World Series.
The last Dodgers home no-hitter was by Ramon Martinez in 1995, and the last time the Rockies were no-hit was also by a Dodger, Hideo Nomo, in 1996.
All that kept Kershaw from a perfect game was an error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the seventh inning. The last no-hitter in the Majors in which the only runner reached on an error was thrown by Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez against the Padres in 2009. That error was committed by Juan Uribe.
Kershaw was about as dominating as a no-hit pitcher could be. He struck out a career-high 15 without a walk. Of 107 pitches, 79 were strikes. Eight of the strikeouts were finished with a slider, six with a curve, only one with a fastball. Twelve were on swings and misses, three were called.
It was the second no-hitter for plate umpire and 15-year veteran Greg Gibson, who had the dish when Randy Johnson threw a perfect game against Atlanta in 2004.
Kershaw allowed only three fly balls to leave the infield. He's 7-2 with a 2.52 ERA and two complete games in 10 starts. The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner had twice thrown two-hitters, the last one in 2011.
Kershaw's bid for a perfect game was dashed when Ramirez committed a two-base throwing error on Dickerson's chopper leading off the seventh inning.
Kershaw appeared unhittable from the start. His fastball was a lively 94 mph, the overhand curve breaking off the table, the slider darting temptingly into the feet of right-handed hitters.
He admitted he was "more nervous than usual" going into the ninth inning. DJ LeMahieu bounced out on the first pitch and Ryan Wheeler flied out on the first pitch. Down to the last out, Dickerson swung at all four pitches. He missed the first, fouled off a pair (one at 95 mph), then swung through a slider and bedlam broke out on the field.
After an infield scrum, Kershaw was showered, then met on the field by wife Ellen. The celebration continued in the clubhouse as if a postseason game had just been won.
The outcome also meant the Dodgers swept the three-game series and trimmed the first-place Giants' lead to four games. Ten days earlier, the Giants led the Dodgers by 9 1/2 games.
--- Source: MLB.com
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt