ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Clayton Kershaw’s pitches all sizzled from the start, and the Los Angeles Angels swung early, often and usually ineptly. Behind their longtime ace, the Los Angeles Dodgers made one stunning defensive play after another.
While he retired the first 21 Angels in order, even Kershaw allowed himself to admit everything was pointing toward his first perfect game.
“I really felt like it might happen,” Kershaw said with a smile.
Luis Rengifo’s double leading off the eighth ended the dream, yet it scarcely dampened another spectacular night for the Dodgers’ beloved left-hander.
Kershaw finished his latest gem in a career full of them with eight scoreless innings of one-hit ball in the Dodgers’ 9-1 victory over the Angels on Friday night.
After mowing down the Angels for seven innings, Kershaw (7-2) fell six outs short of his first perfect game and the second in Dodgers franchise history when Rengifo lined a clean hit to left on a well-thrown low slider.
“I really wanted to do it,” Kershaw said. “I think it would have been really fun for everybody involved.”
But Kershaw shrugged it off, retired three more Angels and got the last of several standing ovations from a sellout crowd of 44,648 at the Big A, which contained a huge contingent of blue-clad fans roaring for Kershaw’s every out.
“Honestly, I probably should have given up four or five hits,” Kershaw said. “Defense played unbelievable tonight, and they lined out right to some guys. It was a fun night.”
The 34-year-old Kershaw was selected to his ninth All-Star team earlier this month, and he is a strong sentimental candidate to start the Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium.
If anybody still doubted his All-Star worthiness after just 12 starts this season, Kershaw again showed he’s a master craftsman…