Clayton Kershaw threw his first no-hitter and was one routine grounder away from throwing the 24th perfect game in the 135 years of baseball. Kershaw stuck out 15 players, walked none and allowed only 13 balls to be put into play – one of them at Hanley Ramirez who threw the ball away the day after injuring his finger and being listed as day-to-day.
“We just started scoring so many runs I didn’t want to screw it up,” the best pitcher in baseball said humbly moments after finishing the game and moments before being joined on the field by his wife Ellen Kershaw, who was his high school sweetheart.
After the two-base error by Ramirez, Kershaw faced the one threat of the game. Troy Tulowitzki hit a shot down the third base line that threatened to score Corey Dickerson from second base. Third baseman Miguel Rojas not only made a great backhand play on the ball to save the run, but fired to first to keep the 22nd no-hitter in Dodgers history in tact.
Rojas, a defensive star who hits eighth in the line-up, drove in three runs as well. But Yasiel Puig’s sac fly in the first was really all Kershaw needed with an unreal curve ball. The final was 8-0.
Between innings, Carlos Triunfel replaced Ramirez at shortstop an inning too late – and Kershaw finished the no-hitter with only the one runner reaching. Kershaw signed a $215 million, 7-year contract this offseason, and worked every penny. Despite being by far the most dominant pitcher in the game, he had never thrown even a 1-hitter.
Having witnessed only one no-hitter, former Dodger Hideo Nomo’s first game with the Red Sox in 2001, this was no normal no-hitter. It could be argued that, with 15 strikeouts and no runner allowed except for the one on the error, it is the most dominant no-hitters ever thrown that was not a perfect game.