By Matt Kawahara
LOS ANGELES -- The score one day into the 2013 season: Clayton Kershaw 1, San Francisco Giants 0.
Kershaw, the Dodgers' ace and Giants nemesis, confounded the defending champions on the mound with a complete-game shutout in the Dodgers' 4-0 opening day win and broke open a scoreless tie in the eighth inning with his first career home run.
Leading off the eighth, Kershaw hit the first pitch from reliever George Kontos -- a 92 mph fastball -- to straightaway center field. Angel Pagan gave chase briefly before turning and watching the ball sail over the fence as the crowd at Dodger Stadium erupted.
It was the second extra-base hit ever for Kershaw, a career .146 hitter in 261 at-bats coming into the game. Major League Baseball issued a tweet saying Kershaw is the first pitcher to hit an opening day home run since Joe Magrane in 1988 and the first Dodgers pitcher to do so since Don Drysdale in 1965.
The Dodgers tacked on three more runs in the eighth to give Kershaw a cushion coming out to finish the game. Carl Crawford doubled off Kontos and later scored on a wild pitch by Santiago Casilla. After the Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs, they added runs on RBI groundouts by Andre Ethier and Luis Cruz.
Another loud round of applause greeted Kershaw when he jogged back to the mound for the ninth inning. He allowed a one-out single to Pagan before getting Marco Scutaro to foul out and Pablo Sandoval to ground out softly to third base to end it. Kershaw needed just 94 pitches to complete the game.
While some of the hitters wearing the San Francisco jerseys have changed since Kershaw came into the league in 2008, his treatment of them has not. Kershaw began the game with the lowest all-time ERA of any pitcher against the Giants (minimum 50 innings) at 1.37. That number dipped to 1.28 on Monday.
Pagan and Sandoval each singled twice against Kershaw, who issued no walks. The rest of the Giants lineup was a combined 0-for-22 with seven strikeouts.
The first six innings were a pitcher's duel between Kershaw and the Giants' Matt Cain. Through six, Cain and Kershaw had combined for 13 strikeouts -- eight by Cain -- and seven balls allowed out of the infield.
Cain needed to work a little harder for his shutout innings. Carl Crawford led off the first with an infield single and Cain hit the next batter, Mark Ellis, with a fastball. But he came back to strike out Matt Kemp and -- after walking Adrian Gonzalez -- Andre Ethier on a check swing to end the inning.
Cain threw 29 pitches in the first inning but needed just 44 pitches to get through the next
five four innings. He struck out the side in the fourth, stranded back-to-back one-out singles in the fifth and wasted a leadoff double by Ellis in the sixth by retiring Kemp, Gonzalez and Ethier in order, striking out the latter two looking.
Ethier, who entered the game a .456 lifetime hitter against Cain, was frozen on a full-count pitch that caught the outside corner. It was Cain's last batter, and he departed having allowed four hits and a walk while striking out eight.