Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw Pulled After 7 Perfect Innings in 2022 Debut vs. Twins

Adam WellsApril 13, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 13: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of the game at Target Field on April 13, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
David Berding/Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw's 2022 season is off to a perfect start.

The Los Angeles Dodgers star tossed seven perfect innings with 13 strikeouts in Wednesday's start against the Minnesota Twins before being removed after throwing 80 pitches.

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That will officially do it for Clayton Kershaw's spotless 2022 debut. Alex Vesia will enter in the eighth. <br><br>7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K, 80 pitches

The Dodgers' quest for a combined perfect game ended in the bottom of the eighth on Gary Sanchez's one-out single off Alex Vesia. That marked the Twins' only hit in a 7-0 victory for Los Angeles.

The longest at-bat against Kershaw was seven pitches by Miguel Sano to lead off the bottom of the sixth.

Byron Buxton had two at-bats that lasted six pitches, but he struck out swinging both times.

Gio Urshela almost singled on the final pitch Kershaw threw, but second baseman Gavin Lux was positioned perfectly and made a terrific pick on a hard-hit ball up the middle.

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WOW. <a href="https://t.co/laqJ5OTh5U">pic.twitter.com/laqJ5OTh5U</a>

Kershaw has never thrown a perfect game during his MLB career. The eight-time All-Star tossed a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies on June 18, 2014. The only baserunner he allowed came on an error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the top of the seventh.

There will be questions about why manager Dave Roberts pulled Kershaw, but the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner is still building up his arm for the season.

Kershaw threw about 75 pitches in a simulated game last week before the Dodgers began their season-opening five-game road trip. He didn't seem upset by the decision to be removed:

Fabian Ardaya @FabianArdaya

Clayton Kershaw on getting pulled after seven perfect innings: “It was the right decision…it was time.”

Los Angeles has carefully monitored Kershaw's workload in recent years. He threw 77 pitches in his first start last season, though he wasn't nearly as effective as in this one (5.2 innings, 10 hits, five earned runs, two strikeouts at Colorado).

Kershaw missed two months during the regular season and the entire postseason in 2021 because of a forearm injury. He re-signed with Los Angeles on a one-year, $17 million deal during the offseason.

The Dodgers have high hopes for 2022 after winning 106 games last season but losing in the National League Championship Series. They have made nine consecutive postseason appearances and won the World Series in 2020, their first title since 1988.