Clayton Kershaw produced a pitching masterclass as the Los Angeles Dodgers launched their latest quest for a long-awaited World Series crown with a record 15-0 drubbing of the San Diego Padres on Monday.
Kershaw pitched seven innings of one-hit ball as the Dodgers scored the biggest opening Day shutout win in baseball history.
It was the heaviest opening defeat in the Padres’ 48-season history and a dream debut for the Dodgers new manager Dave Roberts.
The defeat represented a nightmare start for new Padres manager Andy Green however.
“No one wants to come out and lay an egg on Opening Day and get beat 15-0,” Green remarked glumly after the loss.
The victory maintained Kershaw’s recent stranglehold over San Diego.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner has not lost to the Padres since June 2013, winning in five of his past seven outings at Petco Park.
Kershaw was touched for a clean two-out single by John Jay in the third inning and ultimately struck out nine, walked one and retired the final 13 batters he faced.
“We just kept adding on and adding on,” Kershaw said. “For me, it was just trying to have quick innings.”
Green admitted Kershaw had asked questions of his team that they were unable to answer.
“He threw a very good game and once he got his momentum, he was difficult to handle,” Green said.
The Dodgers eased into a 3-0 lead after three innings. They piled on the agony for San Diego with a five-run sixth.
“I made a lot of mistakes and got the ball up over the plate,” Padres pitcher Tyson Ross said. “This is on me. I didn’t execute my pitches. I’ve got to get back to being a ground-ball machine. It wasn’t a good result.
“But in the grand scheme of things, it’s one loss in 162 games. It was a lopsided score and all that but the big thing is with what happened today, is it’s just a loss.”
The Dodgers, who have not won the World Series since 1988, have the highest payroll in Major League Baseball this season as they aim to end their long wait for a title.