LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seeing his best friend only one out away from pitching a no-hitter, A.J. Ellis got a bit teary eyed.
Not that Ellis could get too emotional, though. The Dodgers catcher still had to call the pitches for Clayton Kershaw to finish off the gem. Kershaw added to his most remarkable resume Wednesday night, throwing his first no-hitter and striking out a career-high 15 as Los Angeles beat Colorado 8-0.
Only one batter got on base against Kershaw — Corey Dickerson reached on a throwing error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez leading off the seventh inning. Kershaw struck out a swinging Dickerson to end the game.
"I guess I haven't really thought of the ramifications of throwing one of these things, but it it's definitely special company," Kershaw said. "I don't take for granted the history of this, or what it means. I definitely understand all that. But as far as individually, it's right up there with winning playoff games and all that stuff. It's pretty cool," he said.
The 26-year-old lefty with the big-bending curveball, two Cy Young Awards, three ERA titles and a pair of strikeout crowns shut down a pretty good team, too. The Rockies began the night leading the majors in batting average, hits and on-base percentage, and topped the NL in runs and homers.
"I started tearing up out there in the ninth inning, just sitting out there catching and watching him throw after he got those first two outs," Ellis said. "To do it here at Dodger Stadium and do it with my best friend on the mound means the world to me. It's a game I'll watch on replays with my kids forever," he said.
Kershaw thrust his arms overhead after fanning Dickerson for the final out. He was mobbed by his teammates and joined on the field by wife Ellen for several hugs. Kershaw joined Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson as the only pitchers to throw a no-no as a reigning Cy Young Award winner.
Koufax pitched four no-hitters for the Dodgers, and the Hall of Fame lefty has befriended Kershaw over the year. Kershaw's 107-pitch effort came 3 1/2 weeks after teammate Josh Beckett pitched a no-hitter at Philadelphia — those are the only two no-hitters in the majors this season.
"As far as individual games, this is pretty special," the three-time All-Star said. "I'll remember this for the rest of my life. Getting to do it at home, it's even better. Beckett told me he was going to teach me how to do that, so I have Josh to thank."
Overall, the Dodgers franchise now has 22 no-hitters — the same number that Kershaw has on his jersey. On Thursday, the team announced a promotion to offer some tickets at a discounted $22 for Kershaw's next scheduled home start, on June 29 against St. Louis.
Overall, Kershaw's next start is set for next week at Kansas City. Kershaw upped his record to 7-2 in a season that was interrupted five weeks because of a muscle strain in his upper back after his season-opening victory over Arizona during the Dodgers' two-game trip to Australia.
Kershaw signed a $215 million, seven-year contract in January — a record for a pitcher. He gave Los Angeles sports fans their second memorable moments in a week. The Kings won the Stanley Cup at home last Friday night, then brought the shiny trophy to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday for a pregame ceremony. In late January, the Kings played a game at the ballpark.
A night after the trophy showed up, Kershaw dominated. "When you talk to our guys, nobody deserves it more than him because they know he works hard every day, he does everything the right way and he's a great teammate," manager Don Mattingly said. "It's just so nice to watch someone like that get it."
Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki went 0 for 3, dropping his major league-best average to .356. "When there's a special moment for someone, you want to watch how a guy responds," Tulowitzki said. "It was 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. He's one of the best pitchers in this game, if not the best," he said.