LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw became the Los Angeles’ Dodgers all-time leader in strikeouts on Saturday night, striking out Detroit Tigers rookie Spencer Torkelson in the fourth inning for the 2,697th regular-season punchout of his storied career.
Kershaw, 34, surpassed Don Sutton, who last pitched for the Dodgers in 1988 and had reigned as the franchise’s career strikeout leader since 1979.
Kershaw leads all Dodgers players in Baseball-Reference wins above replacement while ranking third in starts, fourth in wins and fifth in innings. Since the start of the live-ball era in 1920, he boasts the lowest all-time ERA (2.48 heading into Saturday) and WHIP (1.00) among starting pitchers with at least 1,500 innings.
Kershaw struck out Dustin Garneau swinging on a curveball to tie Sutton’s record of 2,696 strikeouts for the second out of the third inning, prompting a standing ovation from the fans at Dodger Stadium. An inning later, with one on and none out, he got Torkelson to swing through an 0-2 slider to set a new mark.
A graphic depicting Kershaw as the franchise leader in strikeouts flashed on the video boards and another standing ovation followed. Kershaw lifted his cap and lightly patted his chest in appreciation, then walked around the mound and lifted his cap again as the cheers grew louder.