Clayton Kershaw was controversially pulled after seven perfect innings by team manager Dave Roberts in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 7-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday evening.
Kershaw is 16/1 to win his fourth National League Cy Young award and the 34-year-old, who signed a new one-year contract extension earlier this year, was in top form against the Twins, throwing just 80 pitches before Roberts called him in.
Kershaw had dominated the Twins with 13 strikeouts in 21 batters during the comprehensive 7-0 win. Roberts consulted with Kershaw after the sixth and the three-time Cy Young award winner told him one more, with an 85-pitch limit.
Dodgers reliever Alex Vesia entered Target Field to boos from the visiting supporters in a crowd of just over 17,000. Vesia gave up Minnesota's one and only hit, a one-out single by Gary Sanchez.
Speaking to MLB.com, Kershaw said : "Those are selfish goals. We're trying to win. That's really all we're here for.
"I would love to have stayed, but bigger things man, bigger things. Blame it on the lockout. Blame it on me not picking a baseball up until January. I mean, my slider was horrible the last two innings. Feels good to be out there. Still a lot of fun to win. And so, I enjoyed that today. Yeah I love that feeling."
This was Kershaw's 66th career double-digit strikeout game in 380 regular season appearances.
Chris Paddack had a rough first start for the Twins less than a week after he was acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres. He lasted four innings, with six hits and three runs allowed.