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SF@LAD: Kershaw goes the distance on Opening Day

It's going to be quite hard for Clayton Kershaw to top his Opening Day performance when he takes the hill on Saturday night against the Pirates at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers left-hander not only tossed a four-hit shutout against the Giants on Monday, but he also hit his first career home run to become the first pitcher to homer and pitch a shutout on Opening Day since the Indians' Bob Lemon did so on April 14, 1953.

"He's an athlete," Giants catcher Buster Posey said of Kershaw. "I think the ball ran back to the middle a little bit, and he was all in. He was swinging no matter what."

While Kershaw doesn't expect to have that kind of game every start, he's ready to keep the momentum going into Saturday's contest.

Limiting Pittsburgh hitters to a .192 batting average with 35 strikeouts in 35 innings during his career, the left-hander went 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA in two starts against the Pirates last season.

Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett will be on the hill for the Bucs, making only his second start at Dodger Stadium in the last nine years.

In four starts during the spring, the right-hander went 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA. In 11 innings, he also struck out eight and walked just four batters.

The 36-year-old was the team's Opening Day starter against the Cubs, taking a tough luck loss after allowing three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. Showing pinpoint control, he struck out 10 and walked only one batter.

"You could tell with all the strikeouts that Burnett had it working," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "It was good to come away with three runs with Burnett throwing the ball the way he did."

Pirates: Martin returns to LA
In his first season with the Pirates, catcher Russell Martin returned to Dodger Stadium on Friday for the first time since he left the club in free agency following the 2010 season.

Martin, who spent nine years in the Dodger organization, was a two-time All-Star for the club. He finished Friday's game going 0-for-2 with a walk.

"It'd be absolutely nice to have a great series against the Dodgers, for sure," Martin said. "Either way, it's going to be fun. We'll see how it goes, but I'll embrace whatever happens.

"This place definitely has that sense of home. It's definitely cool to be back here,"

Dodgers: Billingsley to return on Wednesday
Right-hander Chad Billingsley had no issues to his injured right index finger during a Minor League rehab start on Thursday and will come off the disabled list to start on Wednesday in San Diego, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Billingsley pitched four innings for Class A Rancho Cucamonga in the start, striking out two while allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits, three walks and a hit batter without irritating his bruised finger.

"It went well. I accomplished everything I needed to to get ready for my next start," Billingsley said on Friday at Dodger Stadium. "I've got no issues with the finger. I'm anxious to get back out there, compete and win some ballgames."

Worth noting
• Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly, who is recovering from left shoulder surgery, went six innings for Rancho Cucamonga on Friday, allowing nine hits, including three home runs.

• The Pirates have gone 4-17 at Dodger Stadium since they last won a series in Los Angeles in 2006. Comments