Flu knocks Kershaw out of Dodgers' opener

Flu knocks Kershaw out of Dodgers' opener

SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw was removed from his start in the fourth inning of Thursday's 5-3 Opening Day win over the Padres because of the stomach flu.

Kershaw, appearing stiff and struggling to reach 90 mph with his fastball, nonetheless retired the first eight batters he faced before pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the third.

The Dodgers had a long top of the fourth inning, in which they scored twice, and Kershaw was lifted for pinch-hitter Adam Kennedy, even though Kershaw had the first hit of the game in his only at-bat.

Kershaw threw 39 pitches, that fastest at 92 mph, but most of his fastballs were in the 87-89-mph range.

Manager Don Mattingly approach Kershaw before the game about the possibility of a scratch, but the lefty wanted the ball.

"Around game time we knew. He had trouble keeping food down," Mattingly said. "He kind of hung in there. You don't want on Opening Day to blow up your bullpen. He survived, inning by inning. It was impressive to do what he did."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.