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Clayton Kershaw pitches Dodgers past Brewers 5-2; Dodgers take 3-2 NLCS lead

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw bounced back from his rough outing in Game 1 of the NLCS, this time limiting the Brewers to one run over seven innings in Game 5 on Wednesday evening. He held the Brewers to three hits and a pair of walks while striking out nine on 98 pitches. The Dodgers went on to win 5-2, taking a 3-2 lead in the NLCS.

The Brewers opened the scoring in the third inning when Lorenzo Cain hit an RBI double to straightaway center field. Kershaw later walked Ryan Braun to load the bases with two outs but struck out Jesús Aguilar to escape the jam. He then put up zeroes in the fourth through seventh innings. Kershaw retired the final 13 batters he faced.

The Dodgers’ offense woke up in the midgame, playing the tying run in the fifth inning on an Austin Barnes RBI single to center against Brandon Woodruffthe de facto starter. The Dodgers took the lead in the sixth on RBI singles by Max Muncy (off of Woodruff) and Yasiel Puig (off of Corbin Burnes). Justin Turner added an RBI single in the seventh followed by a Brian Dozier RBI ground out as the Dodgers appeared to finally remember how to hit with runners in scoring position. They were 1-for-14 with RISP combined in Games 3 and 4. They were 4-for-11 in Game 5.

Pedro Báez took over for Kershaw in the eighth and once again pitched brilliantly. Entering Wednesday’s appearance, he had thrown 5 2/3 scoreless innings in the postseason with nine strikeouts while allowing four base runners on two hits and two walks. It was more of the same for Báez, who worked a 1-2-3 frame.

Manager Dave Roberts called on Caleb Ferguson to start the ninth inning against fellow lefty Christian Yelich. Yelich grounded out and in came the right-handed Ryan Madson. Madson got Braun to ground out, then gave up back-to-back doubles to Aguilar and pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson to make it 5-2. Roberts didn’t want to, but he had to bring closer Kenley Jansen in to close it out. He did, getting Mike Moustakas to go down swinging to end the game 5-2 in the Dodgers’ favor.

Both teams will take Thursday off to travel back to Milwaukee. The Dodgers can punch their ticket back to the World Series on Friday with a victory over the Brewers. Wade Miley will start for the Brewers, likely against Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Félix Hernández passes Don Drysdale on all-time strikeouts leaderboard

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Mariners starter Félix Hernández pitched well enough for a win on Wednesday afternoon, but Padres starter Chris Paddack was just a little bit better. Hernández allowed one run on three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in the Mariners’ 1-0 loss. Paddack tossed seven scoreless innings on one hit and one walk with nine strikeouts.

With eight strikeouts on the day, Hernández passed Don Drysdale to move into 36th place on Major League Baseball’s all-time strikeouts leaderboard at 2,488. Max Scherzer currently sits in 35th place at 2,493. Christy Mathewson is Hernández’s next target at 2,507.

On the season, Hernández is now 1-2 with a 3.91 ERA and a 21/3 K/BB ratio across 25 1/3 innings. The 33-year-old had a rough 2017 and ’18, but the first-place Mariners are hoping he has something left in the tank. Hernández is earning $27 million this season and can become a free agent after the season.