LOS ANGELES — It was a weekend full of celebrations at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers received their World Series rings on Friday as Dodger Stadium reopened its doors to fans for the first time in over a year. The late Tommy Lasorda was honored on Saturday with tributes throughout the game, and the 40th anniversary of Fernandomania brought more festivities on Sunday.
Fittingly, the weekend came to an end with the best pitcher in franchise history throwing a gem in his first home start as a World Series champion. Clayton Kershaw outdueled fellow three-time Cy Young Award-winner Max Scherzer, guiding the Dodgers to a 3-0 win over the Nationals on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. The win helped the Dodgers complete their first three-game sweep of the season.
Kershaw and Scherzer entered Sunday’s matchup with a combined 5,329 strikeouts, 351 wins, six Cy Young Awards, two World Series titles and two punched tickets to Cooperstown whenever they’re ready to hang up their cleats.
Sunday was just the third time the two likely future first-ballot Hall of Famers faced off in the regular season — and they didn’t disappoint.
After allowing five runs on 10 hits in a shaky Opening Day start against the Rockies, Kershaw appears to be back on track as the Dodgers’ ace, striking out six over six scoreless innings in Sunday’s win. Over his last two starts, Kershaw has allowed just one run, striking out 14 over 13 innings of work.
While Kershaw dominated the Washington lineup, he was particularly sharp against superstar Juan Soto. Kershaw won all three battles against Soto, including the last two with the tying run at second base. In the final showdown, Kershaw struck out Soto looking on a perfectly placed slider. Kershaw threw 86 pitches, 54 for strikes.
Dodgers starters are now 6-0 with a 1.61 ERA in their last eight outings. The starter has gone six or more innings in seven of those eight games.
On the other side, Scherzer was showing a talented Dodgers’ lineup how he has racked up all his accolades. Scherzer allowed one run on three hits and struck out five on 90 pitches. But in the second inning, Zach McKinstry — who has seemingly been the hero in every game this week — delivered a two-out RBI double to give the Dodgers the early 1-0 lead.
McKinstry, however, wasn’t done. He launched a two-run homer just over the right-center-field wall off Nationals reliever Tanner Rainey — to give the Dodgers some much-needed insurance. McKinstry now leads the team with 10 RBIs and has a 1.033 OPS.