LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw had spent the previous eight innings working to keep the San Francisco Giants quiet, but he made a loud noise just in time.
Kershaw mashed a home run off reliever George Kontos leading off the eighth inning to wake up the Dodgers' offense and give the team a win over its arch rival on Monday's Opening Day.
It was Kershaw's first career home run. It was not, however, his first dominant outing. At times, it seems like all his starts are dominant. Kershaw got in a touch of trouble in the first few innings, but then breezed. He went all nine innings, giving the Dodgers their first home Opening Day shutout since Fernando Valenzuela did it 1981.
In the process, he beat another former Cy Young winner, Matt Cain, and got a ballyhooed Dodgers season off on the right foot.
The Dodgers have talked to Kershaw's agent about a long-term contract extension this spring, but they didn't meet his deadline of Opening Day to get a deal done. Whether the sides keep talking or not this season, Kershaw gave them another reason to think he's worth a sizeable investment.