A single, a home run off a two-time Cy Young Award winner and 24 candles. Happy birthday, Carlos Perdomo.
Perdomo notched the JetHawks' only two hits off of rehabbing Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw on Friday night and Class A Advanced Lancaster roared to life late in a 6-3 victory over Rancho Cucamonga.
"It was a special day," Perdomo said of his 24th birthday through an interpreter. "I had a good plan at the plate and was seeing the ball well and was really focused in my at-bats. And I was able to drive a pitch and hit it out of the ballpark against a Cy Young winner like Clayton Kershaw."
Kershaw, on the road back from a back injury that has sidelined him since Opening Day in Australia, didn't have much trouble with anyone not named Perdomo in the JetHawks lineup. The southpaw retired the first four batters he faced before issuing a one-out walk to Dan Gulbransen in the top of the second. Perdomo followed with a single through the right side, but Kershaw got out of trouble.
In the fifth, the three-time National League All-Star wasn't as fortunate. Perdomo hammered a 3-1 offering over the left-field wall for a leadoff homer that got Lancaster within 2-1.
"I knew he had a breaking ball, so I always had that in the back of my mind," Perdomo said. "That second at-bat, when I got to a 3-1 count, I knew he was coming with a fastball, so I put a good swing on it and was able to drive it out of the ballpark."
Kershaw's night ended after five innings. The southpaw struck out six batters and walked one while allowing a run on Perdomo's two hits.
"I felt good and felt healthy," Kershaw told MLB.com. "I was happy to pitch five innings because it meant I got up and down five times."
Kershaw finished strongly, getting Danry Vasquez to ground out and striking out Roberto Pena and Ruben Sosa to complete the fifth.
"I don't have any pain now and don't anticipate any problems in the morning," he said.
Kershaw also took notice of the JetHawks' shortstop who victimized him twice in as many opportunities.
"He looked comfortable in the box and he looked like he had a plan," Kershaw said of Perdomo. "I had a 3-1 count on him [in the fifth] and I didn't want to walk another batter."
"It feels good to hear those comments," Perdomo said when hearing of Kershaw's praise, "because it's not the same to hit a homer off of a guy in the Minor Leagues as a Cy Young Award winner in the big leagues and one of the best pitchers in the game right now."
Kershaw exited with a lead, but the JetHawks rallied against the Quakes bullpen. Astros No. 11 prospect Rio Ruiz doubled in the tying run in the sixth against Geoff Brown (0-1), whose wild pitch plated Ruiz one batter later.
Lancaster added three runs in the seventh to pull away.
JetHawks starter Kyle Smith (4-0) was effective opposite Kershaw. Houston's 19th-ranked prospect allowed two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking one over five innings. Lance McCullers -- the Astros' No. 5 prospect -- finished up, yielding a run on two hits for his second save.
While the focus centered on Kershaw, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said earlier Friday that he'd like the 26-year-old to have at least one more Minor League outing before rejoining the big club. Asked if he could pitch in the Majors next week, Kershaw said, "I'm not going to answer that question. I don't know what the plans are."
For Perdomo and the JetHawks, win No. 14 may have come under a bigger microscope, but it kept them even with High Desert atop the California League South Division.
"It's good to have a lot of talented players around because we can learn a lot of stuff from everybody," Perdomo said. "We have a great team here and it's been great to have success so far this season."