Clayton Kershaw’s return to the mound for his first start of the season coincided with the return of former teammate Yasiel Puig to Los Angeles.

And the clash of stars was every bit as dramatic as any Hollywood script could have envisioned. 

Kershaw retired the first batter of the game on a ground ball to shortstop, then allowed a one-out single before Puig strode to the plate in his usual cool and calm manner.

The Dodger Stadium crowd gave him a warm ovation, as they had for the first six seasons of his career, before Puig was traded to the Cincinnati Reds this offseason. Puig even tipped his batting helmet before digging in against Kershaw.

And then … BOOM!

Puig hammered an 88 mph slider from Kershaw 405 feet over the fence in left-center field for a 2-0 Reds lead, punctuated by a bat flip.

Round 1: Puig by KO.

After failing to hit a home run in his first 11 games with the Reds, Puig has now homered in back-to-back contests. 

Kershaw, meanwhile, had his fastball top out at 91 mph in the opening inning. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is working his way back from shoulder soreness he developed this spring. 

Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner

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