Clayton Kershaw became the Dodgers’ career strikeout record holder Saturday evening by striking out Spencer Torkelson in the fourth inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers at Dodger Stadium, increasing his career total to 2,697, breaking a tie with the late Hall of Famer Don Sutton.
Kershaw had a strikeout in each of the first three innings to tie the record, striking out leadoff hitter Robbie Grossman in the first, Torkelson in the second and Dustin Garneau in the third.
Kershaw struck out the next hitter after setting the record, Jonathan Schoop. The next batter, Jelmer Candelario, singled, then Kershaw struck out Garneau to end the inning before a sellout crowd announced at 52,613.
Kershaw struck out Grossman in the fifth for what would be his final strikeout, his seventh of the game and 2,700th of his career, 26th all-time, in 2,477 2/3 innings since making his Dodger and major league debut May 25, 2008. The left-hander needs 74 to pass Frank Tanana and move into 25th place.
The 34-year-old left-hander was relieved by Evan Phillips after pitching six innings and throwing 85 pitches, 57 for strikes and the score tied, 1-1. The Dodgers lost, 5-1, going scoreless after Mookie Betts’ leadoff homer. Phillips was charged with the loss, allowing three runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Sutton had held the record since Aug. 5, 1979, when he struck out Greg Johnston of the San Francisco Giants to increase his total to 2,486, passing Hall of Famer Don Drysdale.
Sutton pitched a franchise-record 3,816 1/3 innings with the Dodgers, beginning his career with them in 1966 and remaining with the team through 1980. He returned to the Dodgers in 1988 for what would be his final season.