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Kershaw Back On The Hill As Dodgers Head To Coors Field

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(AP) – Los Angeles Dodgers staff ace Clayton Kershaw got off to an impressive start to the season, overpowering the defending World Series champions on opening day.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to the Colorado Rockies.

Kershaw tries to continue his dominance over the Rockies on Tuesday night when the Dodgers open a two-game series at Coors Field.

Making his first opening-day start, Kershaw (1-0, 0.00 ERA) held San Francisco to four singles in seven shutout innings in Thursday’s 2-1 victory. The left-hander struck out nine and walked just one.

“Clayton is special. He’s got a gift,” catcher Rod Barajas said. “He just continues to develop and gets better every time he goes out there.”

That doesn’t bode particularly well for Colorado.

Kershaw went 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in five starts against the Rockies last season, and has a 2.03 ERA in his last nine starts against them with the Dodgers winning eight times.

He has managed to shut down some of Colorado’s top hitters, limiting Troy Tulowitzki to a .185 career batting average and Carlos Gonzalez to two hits in 10 at-bats last season.

Tulowitzki is still seeking his first hit of the 2011 season (0 for 8), while Gonzalez is 4 for 9.

Kershaw’s mastery last week help set the tone for an stellar opening series for the Dodgers, who defeated the Giants 7-5 on Sunday to take three of four from the champs.

“That’s the plan, try to win every series,” said Matt Kemp, who is batting .417 this season. “I know we can’t win every game, but we can try to win every series.”

Los Angeles took four of six series from the Rockies last season, winning 11 of 18 games.

Kemp had a lot to do with this success for the Dodgers, hitting four homers while driving in 12 runs.

The Rockies have been off the last two days after Sunday’s series finale against Arizona was postponed by a mix of rain and snow. This wintry mix came less than 24 hours after the temperature reached a record 84 degrees in Denver on Saturday, when the Rockies beat the Diamondbacks 3-1.

The forecast for Tuesday is for sun and a high near 70 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Jhoulys Chacin (9-11, 3.28 ERA in 2010) was originally scheduled to make his season debut Sunday, but manager Jim Tracy has moved the rotation back so his right-hander will take the ball in this series opener.

Chacin finished the 2010 season strong, going 4-2 with a 1.44 ERA in his final eight starts, and followed that up with an encouraging spring, recording a 3.52 ERA over 23 innings in six Cactus League starts.

“Pitching in the big leagues, that was my dream,” Chacin told the Rockies’ official website. “Now I know it’s more. It’s not just me and my teammates. I want to do it for my family. That feels really good.”

Chacin went 3-3 with a 2.87 ERA in six starts against the Dodgers last season.

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