For the first time in MLB history a reigning MVP and World Series MVP were the starting pitchers when Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner squared off April 22 at AT&T Park. Neither pitcher earned a decision in a game the San Francisco Giants came away with and completed the three-game series sweep the following day.
Kershaw, still searching for the feel he had last season, allowed two runs on three hits in six innings. Bumgarner went 6.1 innings, also allowing two runs. The aces met once more Tuesday night, this time at Dodger Stadium, but again in the middle of a three-game set.
For the first time in five starts this season Kershaw threw seven innings and allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out eight. Bumgarner ran his pitch count to over 100 as he held the Dodgers to just one run on five hits in eight innings.
The North Carolina native this time earned a win to improve his 2015 record to 2-1 and lifetime mark against the Dodgers to 12-5, including an impressive 8-3 at Dodger Stadium. When asked about the matchup following the tough loss, Kershaw bluntly said he failed to match his counterpart.
“The bottom line is I just got out-pitched,” Kershaw said. “Madison pitched better than I did and they won the game. So, not a whole lot of analyzation going on. I gave up two, he gave up one, he pitched eight innings, I pitched seven, so yeah, I got outpitched.”
Unsurprisingly, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was more complimentary of Kershaw’s outing, saying, “I think he’s just getting better and better as the season’s going on. I think that’s the one thing we see.” Mattingly also added the low-scoring affair is what’s to be expected when pitchers of Bumgarner’s and Kershaw’s caliber are on the mound and the game can hinge on who comes up with a key hit.
While Bumgarner quieted the bats, the Dodgers squandered some opportunities. Primarily in the fourth in when Kiké Hernandez followed a Jimmy Rollins leadoff single with a double to deep center.
However, Justin Turner struck out and Hernandez was then caught in a rundown on Howie Kendrick’s grounder to shortstop and the Dodgers managed to score just one run in the inning. Later, an error on Joaquin Arias in the fifth left two runners with two outs, but Rollins was unable to capitalize.
As such, the Dodgers dropped to 2-3 in games Kershaw has started this season, one year removed from going 23-4 in his outings. Additionally, Kershaw is now 1-3 in five career starts against Bumgarner and 13-3 against other Giants starters.
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