Clayton Kershaw said that after tossing his no-hitter, Josh Beckett joked that he would teach the Dodger lefty how to do it one day.
Turns out, Kershaw is a quick learner.
In front of 46,049 fans at Chavez Ravine, the 26-year-old threw the 22nd no-hitter in franchise history Wednesday night in an 8-0 win to sweep of the Colorado Rockies out of town. To celebrate, Kershaw's teammates showered him with Gatorade on the field and bathed him in bubbles.
It's the reigning Cy Young Award winner's first career no-no and the second for LA this year after Beckett threw his May 25 against the Phillies. It also marked the first time since 1956 that two Dodger pitchers have thrown no-hitters in the same season. Carl Erskine and Sal Maglie both hurled hitless games in 1956.
"I don't take for granted the history of this or what that means," Kershaw said afterward. "As far as individually, though, it's right up there with winning a playoff game or World Series game."
Kershaw (7-2) struck out a career-high 15 batters and had his repertoire working. His fastball consistently hit 94 MPH and topped out in the sixth inning at 95 MPH. He paced it with a devastating slider that, at times, hit 88 MPH on the radar gun and a curveball that dropped into the strike zone like the Freefall ride at Magic Mountain.
He didn't allow a baserunner until the seventh when a Hanley Ramirez throwing error allowed Corey Dickerson to reach first base. But Miguel Rojas and Adrian Gonzalez made up for it with what turned out to be the play of the game. Rojas snagged a grounder down the third-base line by Troy Tulowitzki and got him by a step, thanks to a nifty pick by Gonzalez at first. Kershaw struck out Wilin Rosario to strand Dickerson at third.
"I thought it was foul," Kershaw said. "Then Miggy stayed with it the whole way and he made a really great play. That was really huge for me."
He also said completing the feat never entered his mind but manager Don Mattingly started thinking about it in the sixth. He was, by his standards, downright giddy after the game talking about what Kershaw accomplished.
"Talk to our guys. Nobody deserves it more than him," Mattingly said. "He works hard every day. He does everything the right way. He's a great teammate. Even though he's won a couple of Cy Young (Awards) that doesn't even get in the way. He goes for it all the time and it's just so nice to watch someone like that get it."
It was the first no-hitter Kershaw's battery mate A.J. Ellis ever caught and it holds special meaning for him.
"To do it here at home in Dodger Stadium and then to do it with my best friend on the mound means the world," Ellis said, adding that he got emotional while hugging Kershaw in front of the mound afterward. "It's something you'll never forget. It's a game I'll watch replays of with my kids forever. I'm just so thankful and so blessed to be on the receiving end of the best pitcher in baseball."
Kershaw threw 117 pitches and didn't walk a batter in picking up his fourth straight win.
Matt Kemp led the offensive charge for the Dodgers going 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs. He's now hitting .481 (13-27) during his current seven-game hitting streak.
The Dodgers put the game out of reach with a five-run third inning. The big blow coming from Rojas, who picked a good time to get his first big league double. It cleared the bases and gave LA a 7-0 lead.
Rockies (6-6) starter Jorge De La Rosa took the loss and got knocked around in his 3 1/3 innings of work. He allowed eight runs, seven earned, on six hits, he walked five and struck out one.
The Rockies' Tulowitzki leads the majors with his .356 batting average but even he couldn't punch through against Kershaw going 0 for 3.