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Dodgers take World Series Game 1 with historic start by Clayton Kershaw

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The Dodgers took an early lead in the World Series on Tuesday night, banking on an incredible performance from Clayton Kershaw as they topped the Astros 3-1 in Game 1. Even in the sweltering heat — a blistering 103 degrees at first pitch — Kershaw kept his composure against a stacked Astros’ lineup, collecting 11 strikeouts en route to his first career World Series win.

Kershaw was perfect through 2 1/3 innings. He needed just nine pitches to get through the first inning and retired the first seven batters in a row before Josh Reddick lined a one-out base hit into right field in the third. No matter: the southpaw returned with back-to-back strikeouts against Dallas Keuchel and George Springer, and it wasn’t until the fourth inning that he’d make his second and biggest mistake of the night.

Alex Bregman‘s game-tying home run — his third of the postseason and first-ever off of Kershaw — tied things up for the Astros. The Dodgers’ ace has now given up eight runs on seven homers in the playoffs this year, but it’s the rest of his stats that merit a closer look. By the end of his seven-inning outing in Game 1, he’d fired 57 strikes in 83 pitches and fanned 11 of 24 batters while allowing three hits and zero walks. The last World Series starter to engineer an 11-strikeout, zero-walk game? Brooklyn Dodgers’ right-hander Don Newcombe in Game 1 of the 1949 Series.

Dallas Keuchel, meanwhile, found it a little more difficult to stay on top of the Dodgers’ hitters. NLCS co-MVP Chris Taylor engineered a first-pitch home run in the bottom of the first inning, giving Los Angeles the boost they needed to prop up Kershaw’s efforts. Enrique Hernandez, Austin Barnes and Corey Seager returned with base hits in the second, third and fifth, respectively, but the Dodgers weren’t able to secure the go-ahead run until fellow co-MVP Justin Turner hit one out in the sixth.

Both starters made their exit in the seventh inning. Kershaw was done after the Dodgers bobbled a pair of inning-ending plays, while Keuchel had his leash yanked following Seager’s second base hit of the night. Brad Peacock relieved Keuchel and immediately yielded a walk to Logan Forsythe, but that was the only concession made on either side. Each team’s bullpen proved impenetrable. Brandon Morrow and Chris Devenski got the job done with a scoreless eighth inning, while Kenley Jansen returned in the ninth for three straight outs and his fourth save of October.

The Dodgers will try to capitalize on their home field advantage again on Wednesday, when Rich Hill (12-8, 3.32 ERA) takes the mound against Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.36 ERA). The forecast is 91 degrees at game time. Verlander hasn’t lost a postseason game yet; neither have the Dodgers lost at home. First pitch is set for 8:00 PM ET.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Diamondbacks 5, Pirates 0: Zack Greinke tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits, and hit a triple and scored. Greinke has won four straight decisions and has a 15-inning scoreless streak. The Snakes sweep the four-game set in Pittsburgh.

Indians 2, Astros 1: Trevor Bauer matched up with his old college teammate and longtime personal nemesis Gerrit Cole. Like, real nemesis, not just baseball nemesis. They don’t like each other. It’s so weird to have that happen in baseball where everyone at least acts like they like one another but, nah, the two of ’em don’t get along and haven’t since they were back at UCLA. Kinda fun in an “I enjoy chaos” kind of way. Anyway, Bauer got the best of it here, allowing only one run in eight innings while Cole gave up two and struck out ten. Homers accounted for all of the scoring: Leonys Martin and Jake Bauers for Cleveland, George Springer for the Astros.

Dodgers 2, Cubs 1: All the Dodgers did was score on a sac fly and an error, but ’twas enough. ‘Twil serve. Jon Lester came back off the injured list for the Cubs and looked good but Ross Stripling and a bunch of relievers held the Chicago offense in check.

Reds 4, Braves 2: Luis Castillo continues to be outstanding for Cincinnati, scattering eight hits over six shutout innings and lowering his ERA to 1.23 over six starts on the year. He got into trouble in the seventh, however, loading the bases without retiring a batter. Reliever David Hernandez came in, though, and struck out Dansby SwansonEnder Inciarte and Ozzie Albies to end the threat. Per my mailbag question on that the other day: THAT is definitely striking out the side. Eugenio Suárez drove in three of the Reds’ four runs.

Marlins 3, Phillies 1: A pitchers duel that was 1-1 at the end of regulation, but Starlin Castro hit a two-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning to hand the Phillies their sixth loss in their last eight.

Red Sox 7, Tigers 3: I’ve been asked a few times lately if I think the Sox will turn it around. Yeah, I think the Sox will turn it around. There’s just too much offense on this team and they’ll put together a lot of days like this one. Michael Chavis hit a two-run homer and Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts each hit two doubles apiece. Suddenly Boston has won five of seven. They’re like last year’s Dodgers. We’ll all wonder what’s wrong with them until there’s, suddenly, nothing wrong with them.

Angels 11, Yankees 5: The Yankees had a 4-0 lead by the fifth inning and it looked like a four-game sweep was in the offing, but then Tommy La Stella and Kole Calhoun hit two-run home runs and David Fletcher drove in five runs the rest of the way and the Angels won in a laugher.

Mariners 14, Rangers 2: Marco Gonzales struck out nine, scattered six hits and didn’t walk a batter in seven scoreless innings while picking up his big league leading fifth win of the year. And, uh, he had a good deal of run support while doing it. Ryon Healy was 3-for-5 with three RBI. Tim Beckham hit his sixth homer and drove in three himself as the M’s scored 14 runs on 14 hits.

I’m out the rest of the day as I’m off to Kentucky to watch horses jump over things. Well, actually, I’ll be manning the grill at the tailgate while everyone else watches horses jump over things. When you marry a horse person (i.e. a person who is into horse stuff, not a half-person, half-horse) this is the kind of stuff you do.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.