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Dave Roberts Takes Clayton Kershaw Out Of Perfect Game After 7 Innings

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Clayton Kershaw was on the verge of history on Wednesday afternoon. Alas, he didn't get the chance to complete the job.

The Dodgers lefty buzzed through the Minnesota Twins in the matinee meeting in Minneapolis, allowing zero base runners while striking out 13 batters in seven innings of work. With the Dodgers leading 3-0 at that point, the L.A. bats then hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to double the lead to 6-0 in the top of the eighth.

At that point, the win for Los Angeles was essentially secured.

Also at that point ... manager Dave Roberts pulled the plug on Kershaw's afternoon.

Kershaw removed his heavy jacket -- used to keep warm between innings on the 38-degree day -- and started accepting pats on the back from teammates, while Alex Vesia began to warm up in the bullpen. And when the bottom of the eighth began, it was Vesia on the mound instead of Kershaw.

Kershaw's pitch count was just 80.

Vesia allowed a one-out single, ending the teamwide pursuit of perfection for the day as well. Justin Bruhl pitched a scoreless ninth to conclude the 7-0 victory.

Obviously, with the win looking to be in the bag, Roberts made the decision to protect the 34-year-old's left arm in his first outing of the young season. Having Kershaw push his body too far in those conditions at the start of the season could lead to some undesired consequences.

Still, part of the majesty of baseball involves moments like this one, when the pursuit of perfection kind of takes precedence over everything else.

What's crazy is that this isn't even the first time that Roberts has done this. In 2016, he pulled Rich Hill after seven perfect innings. Hill's pitch count was just 89 that night, but Roberts said that the veteran lefty felt signs that a blister was forming on his pitching hand. That same year, Roberts pulled rookie Ross Stripling after 7.1 no-hit innings in his MLB debut.

There have only been 23 perfect games in MLB history, and buzz was naturally growing on social media on Wednesday as Kershaw inched closer to No. 24.

Sadly, though, the fans got nothing. And Dave Roberts is on the receiving end of some very mean tweets.

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