Clayton Kershaw will make his first official appearance since retiring the first 21 batters nine days ago when the Los Angeles Dodgers seek to complete a four-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw became the only pitcher since 1961 — the earliest complete records are available — to pitch seven perfect innings twice in a season when he retired the first 21 Los Angeles Angels batters July 15 before allowing a leadoff double by Luis Rengifo in the eighth inning of a 9-1 victory.
Kershaw retired all 21 Minnesota Twins batters he faced in his first appearance of the lockout-delayed season April 13 when he was removed after reaching his 80-pitch limit in a game the Dodgers won 7-0.
Kershaw was the National League’s starting pitcher in Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, who had gone hitless in three at-bats against Kershaw on July 15, striking out twice, hit Kershaw’s first pitch for a broken bat single into center field. Kershaw then picked off Ohtani.
Kershaw struck out the second batter he faced, New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge. Kershaw then walked Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers on a full count. The final batter Kershaw faced, Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., grounded into an inning-ending force out.
Kershaw (7-2) will be making his second appearance against the Giants this season. He allowed two runs on three hits in four innings and was charged with the loss in a 3-2 loss June 11 at San Francisco in a game the Dodgers trailed 2-0 when he left the game.
Kershaw is 24-15 with a 1.91 ERA in 53 career games against the Giants.
Right-hander Alex Cobb (3-4) is set to start for San Francisco, facing the Dodgers for the first time in a major league career that began in 2011 and was spent entirely in the American League before signing with the Giants in November. Cobb is 0-3 with five no decisions in his eight starts since May 23.
The Dodgers are 7-5 in Kershaw’s 12 starts this season. San Francisco is 6-8 in Cobb’s 14 starts.
The Dodgers will seek their eighth consecutive victory and 19th in 21 games.
All eight games between the Dodgers and Giants in 2022 have been won by the home team. The Dodgers swept a two-game series May 3-4 at Dodger Stadium, were swept in a three-game series at Oracle Park June 10-12 and have won all three games of this series, including a 4-2 victory Saturday, when Mookie Betts and Trea Turner hit back-to-back homers in the third, Freddie Freeman hit a seventh-inning solo homer and the Giants were held scoreless until two outs in the ninth.
The Dodgers’ 63-30 record for a .677 winning percentage matches the New York Yankees (65-31) for the best in MLB. Their 10 1/2-game lead over the San Diego Padres for the NL West lead matches their season high.
San Francisco (48-46) is in third in the NL West, 15 1/2 games behind the Dodgers, and two games behind St. Louis in the race for the National League’s third and final wild-card playoff berth.
The game is set to start at 1:10 p.m. and will be televised by SportsNet LA.