Rockies respect first-class Kershaw's feat
Colorado isn't happy to be on wrong side of no-no, but club tips hat to lefty
LOS ANGELES -- Troy Tulowitzki found it in him to lean his arms over the dugout railing and let his love of baseball overtake even his own competitive spirit as Dodger Stadium became awash in joyful screams and Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw let not one but two coolers filled with sports drink wash over him.
By then, there was nothing Tulowitzki could do about being no-hit by Kershaw in an 8-0 Dodgers victory against the Rockies on Wednesday night.
Tulowitzki endured Kershaw's interview on the scoreboard, the tomfoolery of his teammates and even the loud music. From across the field, Tulowitzki found what he wanted in Kershaw's eyes.
"When there's a special moment for someone, you want to watch how a guy responds," Tulowitzki said. "Clayton, I've always had a lot of respect for how hard he works. It's nice for me to see how much it means for him.
"If something can bring tears to someone's eyes, it means you really care, and he cares a lot about this game."
It wasn't as if Tulowitzki is alone in his love for the game's special feats, and he certainly wasn't alone in the Colorado dugout. Tulowitzki was one of the last to leave the dugout, but nearly the entire Rockies team watched the celebration. They rather would not have been the opponents, and they made sure to stay well away from the jubilation and weren't overly demonstrative in tipping their caps.
But the Rockies took the opportunity to show admiration for one of baseball's best pitchers who accomplished one of the game's special feats.
"It's a heck of an accomplishment," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "You never want to be on this end of it. But the respect for Kershaw, too, is why you saw that. He's a first-class guy. He handled himself really well. I think that's what you saw tonight with the guys hanging around afterwards."
A two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw made it an unbelievable night in a career full of impressive ones. Kershaw struck out a career-high 15, and the third strike to all but one hitter was some form of breaking ball. But he was running his fastball to the plate at around 96 mph. Kershaw essentially did whatever he wanted.
"His fastball had a little cut to it, and when he got ahead he was able to use his curveball," said Corey Dickerson, who struck out to begin and end the game but broke up a shot at a perfect game when he reached on shortstop Hanley Ramirez's throwing error to lead off the seventh.
The Rockies have had plenty of chances to leave a game admiring Kershaw. He is 7-1 with a 2.44 ERA in his last 10 starts against them. The last two of Kershaw's 13 career complete games, including one on June 8, and the last two of Kershaw's eight career shutouts have come against the Rockies.
Beneath the admiration, there was unhappiness after the Rockies suffered their first no-hitter since being on the wrong end of two in 1996 -- by the Marlins' Al Leiter on May 11, and the Dodgers' Hideo Nomo, at Coors Field, on Sept. 17.
"Not good, not good," said Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes, who struck out twice Wednesday night. "He was just making his pitches when he needed to. He's a good pitcher and he's got good stuff.
"That's why he gets paid a lot of money. But there's nothing we could have done about it tonight. We gave it everything we had."
Some of what put the Rockies in a bad spot occurred when Kershaw wasn't pitching. Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa walked five and gave up eight runs (seven earned) in 3 1/3 innings that took quite long to play.
"I think the pace of the game hurt us," Tulowitzki said. "How long we were out there in the field, then he was jumping ahead of us. I think that made it a bad matchup for us."
Maybe next time the Rockies can figure out a way to make it tough on Kershaw. But on Wednesday, all they could do was watch the left-hander further prove himself as one of baseball's greatest pitchers.
By game's end, the Rockies were seemingly trying to hit the ball before they could strike out. Dickerson's four-pitch, game-ending at-bat was two pitches more than the combined total of the first two hitters of the inning, DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Culberson.
When Dickerson swung through an 87-mph slider to end it, he took the walk toward the dugout but looked over his shoulder to see catcher A.J. Ellis engulf Kershaw and the rest of the Dodgers rush to the infield for the celebration.
"He's a stand-up guy anyways, a class act," Dickerson said. "His stuff was phenomenal tonight. I think all the guys said that. We tip our hats to him."