LOS ANGELES – Clayton Kershaw ended his outing with a fired-up scream and then capped his milestone night with a champagne toast from teammates.
The left-hander delivered a vintage performance for his 200th win, pitching seven splendid innings of three-hit ball as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Mets 5-0 on Tuesday.
“The goal is to win and that’s why tonight is really cool, because it’s a team stat, a win,” Kershaw said. “For me, to be able to do that 200 times is just a product of being on great teams. That’s why I really like tonight.”
J.D. Martinez homered twice and drove in four runs, finishing with four hits to help the Dodgers stop New York’s five-game winning streak.
Kershaw (3-1) struck out nine to pass Mickey Lolich for 22nd place on the career list with 2,833 strikeouts. The three-time Cy Young Award winner improved to 200-88 in 405 games (402 starts) over 16 major league seasons — the best winning percentage (.694) among the 117 pitchers to win 200 games.
The only one of them with a lower career ERA than Kershaw (2.48) is Hall of Famer Walter Johnson (2.37).
“I think what is nice for me is to look back at the different groups of guys I got to play with over the years. And maybe it hasn’t ended the way we wanted to in the postseason, but ultimately, winning all those games with those groups is special,” Kershaw said. “And I think this (team) is going to be the same. I think it’s going to be special.”
Kershaw allowed three singles and no walks. He took a one-hitter into the seventh but needed 32 pitches to get through the inning, letting out a rare primal shout after striking out Tommy Pham with two on to preserve a 3-0 lead.
“It was just kind of a big moment in the game more than anything,” Kershaw said. “I think that’s where that emotion came from. Obviously, it wasn’t planned or anything.”
Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol finished the four-hitter, Los Angeles’ first shutout of the season.
The 35-year-old Kershaw moved to 11-0 with a 2.03 ERA in 17 regular-season starts against the Mets and joined Hall of Famers Don Sutton and Don Drysdale as pitchers to reach the 200-win milestone with the Dodgers.
“It took a lot of hard work and for us to be a part of it and watch it happen in real time is really special,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Certainly it’s individual in a sense that it is 200 wins, which very few have ever achieved or will ever achieve. But he said it’s a compilation of good teams he has been a part of and that just shows his humility.”
Martinez went deep in his first two at-bats for his 19th career multi-homer game as Los Angeles improved to 2-3 on a six-game homestand.
New York is 4-1 to open a 10-game West Coast trip.
Mets right-hander Tylor Megill (3-1), a Los Angeles-area native, gave up three runs on seven hits over five innings in his first career start at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw’s evening got off to an ominous start when Brandon Nimmo hit a long fly ball to right field that Jason Heyward dropped for a three-base error. But then Kershaw escaped the early jam by striking out Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso in succession.
In the bottom of the first, Freddie Freeman singled before Martinez launched a 438-foot drive to center field. Martinez made it 3-0 in the third when he just cleared the right-field wall with his third home run of the season.
The Mets were hitless until the fourth against Kershaw until Lindor singled past shortstop Miguel Rojas. They didn’t get their second hit until Mark Canha blooped a single with two outs in the seventh to end a 13-pitch at-bat. Jeff McNeil followed with a single but Kershaw struck out Pham as he roared along with the Dodger Stadium crowd.
“He threw a lot of strikes and he was missing barrels,” Nimmo said. “He got a lot of outs very quickly. He did a very good job and there’s a reason he’s going to be a Hall of Famer. There’s a reason he’s still in the game.”
Kershaw retired 10 consecutive batters twice in the outing. He improved to 107-40 in 207 home starts.
“He used to have a little more (velocity) and that made him a little tougher,” Nimmo said. “Now, I think he’s lost a little velo but he’s gained a little bit of ride. That also is hard to hit, so he’s kind of substituted one thing for another and adapted well. Hats off to him for being able to adapt.”
Mets: RHP Justin Verlander (upper back) threw a bullpen and is scheduled to throw live batting practice Sunday. He could make a rehab start as soon as April 28. ... RHP Carlos Carrasco was placed on the 15-day injured list with elbow inflammation and RHP Jeff Brigham was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. Carrasco was sent back to New York for further tests. ... RHP Tommy Hunter (back) is with the team and close to returning from an IL stint.
Dodgers: RF Mookie Betts was expected to miss one game while on paternity leave. INF Luke Williams was recalled from Triple-A. ... C Will Smith is not expected to return from the seven-day concussion IL when he is eligible Thursday, although he will be with the team for its upcoming road series against the Chicago Cubs. ... INF/OF Chris Taylor was out because of soreness in his left side, with an IL stint not out of the question. ... RHP Daniel Hudson (knee) was moved to the 60-day IL and won’t be eligible to return until June.
Mets: RHP Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.41 ERA) will face his former team in the series finale Wednesday afternoon.
Dodgers: RHP Noah Syndergaard (0-2, 5.63) also pitches against his former team.