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Dodgers, Astros play fastest World Series game since 1992

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Clocking in at just two hours and 28 minutes, Game 1 of the Dodgers-Astros World Series was the quickest World Series game since Game 4 of the 1992 Series, when the Braves’ Tom Glavine pitched a complete game loss against the Blue Jays in just two hours, 21 minutes.

Here are three factors that played into Tuesday’s speedy resolution:

1. Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel allowed a combined 10 baserunners.

For the first seven innings of Game 1, only 11 batters reached base. Ten of those came courtesy of Game 1 starters Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel, who would have enjoyed scoreless World Series debuts had it not been for a trifecta of home runs from Chris Taylor, Alex Bregman and Justin Turner. Aside from those three, only Austin Barnes reached past first base — and was promptly doubled off of second to end the third.

2. From the eighth inning on, the bullpen faced the minimum.

The Dodgers’ bullpen has been one of their biggest strengths this postseason, and Tuesday’s Game 1 win was no exception. Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen retired six batters in order, while the Astros’ Brad Peacock issued a free pass to Logan Forsythe before inducing a fly out to end the seventh and Chris Devenski closed out the Astros’ first loss of the series with a scoreless eighth.

3. Justin Turner mashed his first go-ahead home run of the series.

Without Justin Turner’s two-run go-ahead shot in the sixth, the Dodgers and Astros might still be duking it out on the mound. Kershaw was masterful from start to finish and Houston’s staff put together a solid performance on the road. Had Turner not broken the tie as quickly as he did — on the other hand, had the weather not been so warm or had the Dodgers put up another 11-run spread, à la Game 5 of the NLCS — they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to set this kind of record.

Breaking the all-time record for the shortest World Series game is a challenge of a different kind altogether. That distinction belongs to the Boston Braves and Cleveland Indians of the 1948 World Series, when Johnny Sain and Steve Gromek went toe-to-toe in two complete game performances for a Game 4 that lasted just one hour, 31 minutes. Perhaps the Astros can offer their rebuttal in the form of a Justin Verlander Game 2 perfecto tomorrow night.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.