With nothing left to play for on the final day of the regular season, the only suspense involved with Sunday’s afternoon affair was whether or not Clayton Kershaw would reach 300 strikeouts on the year. He entered the game only six shy of the benchmark.
Working in Kershaw’s favor was he faced a San Diego Padres team that began the day ranked seventh in the Majors for most strikeouts as a team this season. Kershaw quickly went to work as he struck out Melvin Upton Jr., to open the game, and Yangervis Solarte as part of a scoreless first inning.
Frank Garces, the starter in a bullpen game for the Padres, worked around a walk to Chase Utley by striking out Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier to end the inning. Kershaw added two more strikeouts to his total in the second inning, catching Clint Barmes looking and getting Austin Hedges swinging.
Corey Seager led off the bottom of the second with a base hit, and the Dodgers had two on with no outs as A.J. Ellis drew a walk. Alex Guerrero swung at Garces’ first offering, lining out to third base that turned into a double play as Seager was thrown out at second base. Joc Pederson’s two-run home run gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead after two frames.
Kershaw’s assault on the record books continued in the third as he bookended the inning with strikeouts, giving him an even 300 on the season for the first time in his career. Marc Rzepczynski took over in the bottom of the third and worked around an Adrian Gonzalez two-out base hit to toss a scoreless inning of relief.
CONTINUE READING: Corey Seager And Chris Heisey Extend Dodgers’ Lead