Clayton Kershaw tossed a gem, Chris Taylor set the tone early, and Justin Turner sealed the deal. It’s a script which sounds increasingly familiar to baseball fans as the Los Angeles Dodgers continue their charge towards a seventh world championship.
Sweltering through 103 degree heat – the hottest temperature ever recorded in a World Series game – the Dodgers went one up in the World Series tonight, overcoming a solid outing from Astros ace Dallas Keuchel who allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings of work.
It was Keuchel’s opposing ace though, Clayton Kershaw, who dominated from the moment he struck out George Springer to start the game, ultimately working his way through seven innings of one-run ball.
Chris Taylor continued his breakout year, putting the Dodgers ahead with a lead-off home run from the first pitch he saw, before the pitchers settled into what quickly became a classic pitching duel. Kershaw had struck out five through three innings before the Astros tied it in the 4th courtesy of a Alex Bregman lead-off solo shot – his third dinger of the postseason. Cool and calm as ever before, Kershaw responded with three straight strikeouts of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Yuli Gurriel to settle the nerves of a boisterous LA crowd.
Game 1’s defining moment came in the bottom of the 6th, when Justin Turner took Keuchel deep to left center after Taylor had earlier drawn a walk – just one of two issued by both pitching staffs combined on the night. The two-run shot gave Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts the luxury of keeping Kershaw out there for the seventh, before handing things over to Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen to slam the door shut.
Kershaw’s stellar seven innings saw him collect his third win in four postseason starts, while lowering his postseason ERA to 2.96. He’s struck out 27 in 24 1/3 innings of work. Morrow meanwhile lowered his ERA to 0.96 (9 1/3 innings) while Jansen extended his scoreless streak to nine innings.
Offensively, Taylor (1-for-3, home run, walk) and Turner (1-for-4, home run, 2 RBI) did the damage, while Corey Seager picked up a pair of singles.
The win sees the Dodgers improve their postseason record to 8-1, as they move to within three wins of what would be a truly memorable world championship. Tomorrow night it’s Justin Verlander against Rich Hill, in what has already became a seemingly must win game for Houston.