Call him "Mr. 2,000."
Clayton Kershaw recorded the 2,000th strikeout of his career, Cody Bellinger hit the game-winning home run and the Los Angeles Dodgers came back to beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 2-1, on Friday night at Miller Park.
The Dodgers were trailing 1-0 with one out in the top of the ninth inning when Yasmani Grandal tied the game with a solo shot to right field.
Three innings later, it was the rookie, Cody Bellinger, who hit his team-leading 12th home run of the season Neftali Feliz in the top of the 12th for the go-ahead run.
Bellinger's 12th home run came in 135th career at-bat. By comparison, Cody's father, Clay Bellinger, only had 12 home runs in his entire MLB career that spanned four seasons and over 311 at-bats.
"I'm sure I have a text from him," Bellinger told Alanna Rizzo of tying is Dad. "I'm sure he's super proud, but I don't get that opportunity if not for Yaz [Yasmani Grandal]."
Despite not factoring in the decision, Clayton Kershaw was the talk of the town after reaching another career milestone.
"He was unbelievable," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Kershaw. "I don't know what else to say. He was lights out. The 14 punchouts in seven innings. It was a joy to watch."
Kershaw struck out the 2,000th batter of his career in the second inning when he struck out Jonathan Villar on a four-seam fastball to become the second fastest pitcher (based on games played) in MLB history to reach the 2,000 mark.
Kershaw was also the fifth youngest pitcher in MLB history to record his 2,000th strikeout and the third fastest in history based on innings pitched. He also has the fourth most strikeouts in franchise history behind Don Sutton, Don Drysdale, and Sandy Koufax.
"It will be cool someday," Kershaw said of reaching the milestone. "I guess when you retire you look back on that stuff. I don't take it for granted, but also I don't think about it. It will be cool some day."
However, Kershaw did not factor in the decision, allowing one run on two hits, with one walk and 14 strikeouts in seven dominant innings.
Kershaw's one and only mistake of the game came on a fastball to Domingo Santana that was sent 445-feet over the centerfield wall for the Brewers only run of the game.
"Most of the time, one pitch isn't going to beat you," Kershaw said of the home run. "But tonight it did. Thankfully, Yaz [Yasmani Grandal] put a good swing on a ball in the ninth."
We're on the board! Santana blasts a 443-ft HR off Kershaw to give the Crew the lead. #PowerballHRLeaderboard https://t.co/BdAGkHjFIY pic.twitter.com/osB6S75brb
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) June 3, 2017
Meanwhile, Milwaukee's Jimmy Nelson was no slouch, as he arguably out-dueled Kershaw, scattering five hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts in eight shutout innings.
"He pitched better than I did," Kershaw said of Nelson, matter of factly."
Grandal saved the Dodgers and Kershaw's bacon when he homered off Brewers' closer Corey Knebel with one out in the top of the ninth to tie the game, Knebel's third blown save of the season.
The Dodgers bullpen combined for five innings of scoreless relief as closer Kenely Jansen earned the win with a scoreless 11th and 12th inning.
"We have the best bullpen in baseball," added Roberts. "They were the difference in the game. I've never seen anything like that."
Jansen set an MLB record with 38 consecutive strikeouts without allowing a walk.
Both teams combined for 42 strikeouts, with the Dodgers tying an MLB record with 26 strikeouts, 14 of which came from Kershaw alone.
"The swings and misses were amazing," Kershaw said of the record number of strikeouts in the game. "Another five innings from our bullpen. Can't say enough about those guys. Everybody. Our bullpen is pretty special. They throw that high fastball really well. It makes it really hard to hit."
Every run in the game came via a solo home run.
Los Angeles moved into first place in the National League west after the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks both lost.
Dodgers' pitcher Alex Wood was named National League Pitcher of the Month for May, and Cody Bellinger was named Rookie of the Month before the game.
Rich Hill heads to the mound on Tuesday opposite right-hander Matt Garza for the Brewers. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10PM PST.
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