Clayton Kershaw nearly added another chapter to his Hall of Fame career on Friday.
For the second time this season, Kershaw was perfect through seven innings and took the perfecto into the 8th inning before allowing a leadoff double to Luis Rengifo that broke up his bid for perfection. The Dodgers went on to beat the Angels 9-1.
Kershaw left the game after the 8th, allowing no runs on one hit, with no walks, and six strikeouts on 89 pitches.
Kershaw got plenty of help from his stellar defense throughout the game.
Justin Turner made an amazing stop on a groundball off the bat of Michael Stefanic in the fourth inning. Off of one knee, Turner made a spectacular throw to first for the out.
In the fifth inning, Hanser Alberto made a lunging stop on a line drive by Jared Walsh, and Trea Turner made a diving stop at short with one-out in the bottom of the seventh.
In his first start of the season, Kershaw took a perfect-game into the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins before he was pulled out of the game by Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts. Kershaw already has thrown a no-hitter in his career, back in 2014 against the Colorado Rockies. No pitcher has ever thrown a perfect game past the seventh inning twice in the same season before Kershaw did it on Friday.
Last month, left-hander Tyler Anderson took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Angels, but allowed a one-out triple to Shohei Ohtani that broke up the no-no.
There has only been one perfect game in Dodgers franchise history. That occurred on September 9, 1965 and was thrown by Sandy Koufax, who now has a statue outside Dodger Stadium.
For comparison, there have only been 23 perfect games ever thrown in Major League Baseball history.
Before he flirted with perfection, the 34-year-old was expected to make his last start before the All-Star break. Kershaw was named to his ninth All-Star team earlier in the week, and is expected to be named the starter for the game, which will take place at Dodger Stadium for the first time in 42 years.
Entering Friday’s game, Kershaw was 6-2 with a 2.40 ERA in 11 starts this season.
The Dodgers jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the first inning. Hanser Alberto doubled the score with a two-out RBI triple in the fifth inning.
Los Angeles broke the game open in the top of the sixth with a four-run barrage thanks to an RBI double by Will Smith and a two-run single by Justin Turner.
Turner knocked in his fourth run of the game in the top of the eighth.
Left-hander Julio Urias will start for the Dodgers on Saturday in the final game before the All-Star break.
Jose Suarez will start for the Angels.
Source: NBC Los Angeles