The Los Angeles Dodgers ' newest big-name acquisition shined in his team debut, opening this three-game set with a sparking performance on the mound.
Kershaw looks to build on Zack Greinke 's impressive display as the Dodgers go for an 11th win in 12 games against the visiting Pirates on Saturday night.
Signed to a six-year, $147 million deal this offseason, Greinke lived up to the billing Friday, striking out six over 6 1-3 innings of two-hit ball in a 3-0 win.
"First impressions are important. But I'm just trying to get one out at a time," Greinke said. "That's kind of what I do, and hopefully everything takes care of itself."
Los Angeles (2-2) has taken 10 of 11 from Pittsburgh (1-3) - the Dodgers have 71 runs in that stretch and the Pirates 71 hits - including seven straight at home by a 40-8 margin. The Pirates, who failed to reach second base Friday, are the last remaining team without a home run, and they could be in for another long night with Kershaw on the hill.
The 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner was lights out in his first start Monday, going the distance while allowing four hits and striking out seven in a 4-0 win over San Francisco. He also came through in a big way at the plate, breaking a scoreless game open with his first career homer in the eighth.
Kershaw was the first pitcher to go deep and throw a shutout on opening day since Cleveland's Bob Lemon in 1953. He's the first Dodgers pitcher to leave the yard in an opener since Don Drysdale in 1965.
"You got a sense on this day, with the first pitch thrown by Sandy Koufax and the last pitch by Clayton Kershaw , it's almost like a passing of the torch today," second baseman Mark Ellis told the league's official website. "He's the most special player I've ever played with."
Kershaw owns a 0.61 ERA over his last six outings dating to September, yielding one run or none in all six.
The left-hander has gone 1-1 while posting a 3.09 ERA and a .192 opponent batting average over six career starts against the Pirates. While Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte are a combined 0 for 8 with seven strikeouts against him, Andrew McCutchen is 5 for 14 with a homer.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, gives the ball to A.J. Burnett (0-1, 4.76). The right-hander struck out 10 and yielded three runs in 5 2-3 innings of Monday's 3-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs , his first opening day start in 15 seasons.
Burnett has gone 1-7 with a 3.34 ERA over his last nine starts dating to August, receiving two or fewer runs of support in eight of those outings - including zero in five of them.
Burnett has lost his last three outings at Chavez Ravine while compiling a 6.00 ERA and walking 13 in 15 innings. His two most recent starts there, though, came in 2004 and 2010.
Matt Kemp , 18 for 43 (.419) with a homer, 11 runs scored and 10 RBIs over the last 11 games versus Pittsburgh, went 1 for 4 with an RBI double Friday - his only hit in 14 at-bats thus far.
"I'm excited about that one," he said. "There's more to come though, there's more to come."
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||3||.000||0||0||0||0||1||.000||.000||.000|
|March 26, 2013||Brandon Inge||15-Day DL||Right scapula soreness|
|March 22, 2013||Francisco Liriano||15-Day DL||Fractured right forearm|
|March 22, 2013||Charlie Morton||15-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Jeff Karstens||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|March 20, 2013||Chase d'Arnaud||60-Day DL||Left thumb surgery|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|March 28, 2013||Ted Lilly||15-Day DL||Left shoulder labrum surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Chad Billingsley||15-Day DL||Right index finger contusion|
|March 22, 2013||Scott Elbert||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Hanley Ramirez||15-Day DL||Torn ligament, right thumb|
|March 21, 2013||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Torn ligament, right thumb|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw is off to an amazing start - even by his standards.
The Los Angeles Dodgers ' ace followed up his sensational one-man show on opening day with seven innings of two-hit ball and nine strikeouts in a spirited duel with A.J. Burnett, beating Pittsburgh 1-0 Saturday night and handing the Pirates their second straight shutout loss in this three-game series.
"For me it just starts with throwing strikes," Kershaw said. "Just keep pumping the strike zone and letting the defense work. That's kind of my mindset."
Kershaw (2-0) walked one and retired 17 consecutive batters after giving up a leadoff single in the first inning to Starling Marte . Last Monday, the 2011 Cy Young Award winner threw a four-hitter against the World Series champion Giants and broke a scoreless tie with his first major league home run.
"My fastball wasn't great tonight," Kershaw said. "I was reaching back and didn't have a whole lot in the tank, for whatever reason. But I was able to keep them a little bit off-balance and was able to get some big 3-2 strikeouts with the slider."
Kershaw's latest gem came one night after Zack Greinke held the Bucs to two hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 3-0 victory.
"Right now the offense isn't scoring a ton of runs, so the pitchers have got to pick up the hitters - just like we expect them to pick us up when we're struggling," Kershaw said.
Brandon League followed Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen out of the bullpen and pitched a hitless ninth for his second save.
Burnett (0-2) was charged with a run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings, walked four and struck out nine - including Matt Kemp all three times he faced him.
The right-hander was coming off a 10-strikeout, 3-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs in the Pirates' opener.
"I left it on the field, I know that," Burnett said. "Like I said after my first start, you want to go deep into games, obviously. This was a pitcher's duel right there, man. You're going up against one of the best, so I just wanted to go out there and do what that kid was doing."
Burnett is 1-7 with a 3.04 ERA over his last nine starts since the beginning of last September, receiving fewer than three runs of support in eight of them - and the Pirates have been shut out four times during that stretch. Now that he's their No.1 starter, he'll probably keep getting few runs to work with because he's facing the other team's ace. But that doesn't concern him.
"I want to go up against every ace. That's what I'm here for," Burnett said. "I'm not worried about run support. That's not my thing. That's beyond my control."
Carl Crawford drew a leadoff walk in the Dodgers' first and stole second, but was stranded there as Burnett struck out Mark Ellis , Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez . Crawford stole second again after his two-out single in the third, and Ellis drove him in with a ground single through the left side.
The Dodgers have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Pirates and eight straight in Los Angeles. The only loss came in their final meeting of last season, when Garrett Jones hit a pair of three-run homers in support of Burnett's 10-6 victory.
The Pirates haven't hit a home run through their first five games - tying the 1998 and 1967 squads for the club's longest drought from the start of a season since the middle of World War II (11 games in 1943). That year they hit only two in their first 26 contests.
"We're going through a rough patch, but there's a lot of talent in the room and guys who have some pop. So I don't think we're worried about it," said catcher Russell Martin , who began his career with the Dodgers.
NOTES: Kemp has struck out five times in five official career at-bats against Burnett, and has walked twice. He grounded into an inning-ending double play with two on in the seventh against Mark Melancon , and is off to a 1-for-18 start. ... Entering this start, Burnett had allowed as many hits as he had strikeouts (1,981). ... The Pirates lost three times by 1-0 scores last season and were shut out 15 times all together.