LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw was long gone by the time teammate Andre Ethier got the game-winning hit in the 10th inning. The no-decision didn't take any of the luster off the left-hander's major league debut, however.
Takashi Saito won in relief, striking out five in two innings, and Luis Maza hit his first big league homer for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.Kershaw allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking one. He threw 69 of his 102 pitches for strikes, recording his first three outs on punchouts."His stuff is electric," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. "He's got a great arm, good fastball, good curveball and changeup, which he's continuing to get the feel for and the right time to use it. He's just a great kid, willing to learn, and he's got a good head on his shoulders. He's the whole package."Kershaw was the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft out of Highland Park High School in Dallas. He was promoted from Double-A Jacksonville to take the fifth spot in the rotation for at least three turns."I was pretty calm," Kershaw said. "I didn't expect to be, but it wasn't too bad. I got all that out of the way in spring training. It might be hard to believe, but I really wasn't that nervous. I just knew that I could do it. These hitters are just like other hitters, except a little better and a little more experienced. So you've got to be smart."Kershaw was 0-3 with a 2.28 ERA for Jacksonville and had 47 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings."Strikeouts are kind of a misleading stat," Kershaw said. "I mean, it's great to get strikeouts, but you're also wasting pitches at the same time."After fanning his first batter, Skip Schumaker, the Dodgers asked for the ball to be taken out of play so that Kershaw could have it as a souvenir. He walked his next hitter, Brian Barton, on four pitches and Albert Pujols followed with an RBI double. But Kershaw fanned Ryan Ludwick and caught Troy Glaus looking at a third strike to end his 32-pitch inning."He's a young kid with good stuff. There's no doubt about it," said Glaus, who popped out his other two times up against Kershaw. "He threw a lot of fastballs, but he threw everything. He had good life on his fastball and we weren't able to do anything with it."The original plan was for Kershaw to pitch Tuesday, but Honeycutt and manager Joe Torre decided instead to give Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda an extra day of rest because they both pitched deep into the game their last time out.Kershaw, who turned 20 on March 19, got a chance to pitch at Dodger Stadium in the team's final exhibition game against the World Series champion Boston Red Sox and tossed four scoreless innings of relief with six strikeouts. During spring training, he gave up one run over 14 innings and struck out 19."Sure, he's only 20, so you can't expect him to pitch like he's a veteran. But his stuff plays up here, and he showed it in spring training," Honeycutt said. "I think if you went up to most of the guys here, they probably felt like he was one of the 25 best guys when we broke camp. But I think the organization had to take a stand and say, no, he needs a little more time."When asked if he had seen Kershaw pitch in any of the Grapefruit League games, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said: "Honeycutt said we might have, but I don't really remember. We saw enough of him today. We had a report on him and we had some of our guys see him pitch. There's no doubt their left-hander is legitimate."Terry Tiffee, recalled Saturday from Triple-A, pinch-hit for Saito (3-1) in the 10th and led off with a bloop single against Mike Parisi (0-1). The right-hander then turned Juan Pierre's comebacker into a force play, but Pierre advanced on a wild pitch and Ethier lined Parisi's 3-2 delivery down the right-field line with two outs for the game-winner.St. Louis starter Todd Wellemeyer gave up three runs and five hits over six innings with four strikeouts and no walks. He was removed for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, when the Cardinals tied it 3-all on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Miles, who was batting for Brendan Ryan.Maza, starting at second base with Jeff Kent getting the day off, drove a 1-1 pitch over the left-field fence in the first. Wellemeyer had not allowed a home run in his previous five starts, spanning 30 innings.
Ryan was in the starting lineup for the first time at Dodger Stadium as a major leaguer. He played 2B at Chavez Ravine eight years ago, when Notre Dame High School lost the California state championship game to San Luis Obispo High on Graduation Day. Everyone on the team wore their caps and gowns over their baseball uniforms for the commencement before taking a chartered bus to the ballpark.