Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw of Dallas, Texas became the second pitcher in Major League Baseball history on Wednesday to be pulled after seven perfect innings. In his debut in the 2022 regular season, Kershaw threw 80 pitches without allowing a single base runner in a 7-0 Dodgers win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Kershaw struck out 13 Twins, and had 53 strikes and 27 balls. Alex Vesia of Alpine, California came into the eighth inning, and gave up one hit and one walk without giving up one run. Then in the ninth inning, Justin Bruihl of Petaluma, California was perfect too as he did not allow one of the three Twins batters he saw reach base.
In the eighth inning, Twins catcher Gary Sanchez of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic recorded Minnesota’s only hit. Then the Twins next batter, Max Kepler of Berlin, Germany, walked. Sanchez came to the Twins in an off-season trade with the New York Yankees in a deal that saw third baseman Josh Donaldson join the Bronx Bombers.
Ironically, the first pitcher to throw seven perfect innings and be pulled was also a Dodger. On September 10, 2016, Rich Hill of Boston, Massachusetts left after seven innings in a two-hitter in a 5-0 Dodgers win over the Miami Marlins. Both Kershaw and Hill were pulled by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Offensively on Wednesday, the Dodgers had no trouble with Twins pitching. Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux, Austin Barnes and Max Muncy all hit home runs. Meanwhile. Bellinger had multiple extra base hits as he had a double.
However this day belonged to Kershaw, who signed a one-year deal worth $17 million in the offseason to stay with the Dodgers another year. He may no longer be the ace of the staff, but is definitely an integral part of it, joining Walker Buehler, Trevor Bauer, and Julio Urias.
With the win, the Dodgers improved to a record of three wins and two losses. They are in third place in the National League West, one game back of the Colorado Rockies, and half a game back of the San Francisco Giants.