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Clayton Kershaw strikes out 12 batters as Dodgers top Braves in Game 1 of NLDS

Oct 4, 2013, 12:04 AM EDT

Clayton Kershaw Getty Getty Images

Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 batters over seven innings tonight at Turner Field as the Dodgers topped the Braves 6-1 in Game 1 of the NLDS.

Kershaw labored early on, but he eventually showed why he’s a virtual lock to win the National League Cy Young Award, striking out nine out of the final 11 batters he faced. The southpaw gave up one run and three hits on the night, with the only run scoring on an RBI single by Chris Johnson in the bottom of the fourth inning. This was the first postseason victory of Kershaw’s career. He previously appeared in five postseason games (including two starts) in 2008 and 2009.

Kershaw’s 12 strikeouts tonight were the most by a Dodgers pitcher in the postseason since Sandy Koufax struck out 15 in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series. That’s some pretty good company. They were also the most in an MLB postseason game since Cliff Lee struck out 13 in Game 3 of the 2010 ALCS.

Kris Medlen came into the postseason on a roll, allowing just four earned runs combined over his final six regular season starts, but it didn’t translate tonight. He gave up five runs on nine hits and a walk over four innings before exiting. The Dodgers had contributions from all over the lineup, as Adrian Gonzalez launched a two-run homer while Mark Ellis, Hanley Ramirez, Skip Schumaker, and A.J. Ellis also drove in runs.

Things won’t get any easier for the Braves tomorrow, as they’ll have to dust themselves off and face Zack Greinke. After using five relievers tonight, they’ll be looking for a big outing out of Mike Minor.

  1. misterj167 - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Well, that was awful

  2. dannymac17 - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    Oh they get to face Greinke next game? Wonderful.

  3. earpaniac - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    That Kershaw, yeah he’s pretty good.

    • baseballisboring - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:36 AM

      It’s safe to say he can pitch a little, imo.

  4. tastybasslines - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    Say hello to your NL Cy Young winner and MVP.

  5. dougtucson - Oct 4, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    Kershaw has been better, but he was good enough.

    • davidpom50 - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      You’re absolutely right…. and that’s crazy to think about.

      12 Ks vs 6 base runners, 1 run allowed over 7 innings… and we can objectively watch that and say “off game from Kershaw”

  6. omniusprime - Oct 4, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Kershaw and the Dodgers were awesome last night, only three more to go to get to the NLCS. Yasiel Puig was great as well, several hits, getting hit and that great base running going from first to third.

    • cartographer0 - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      Two more wins, omniusprime. NLDS is best of five. I’m going to cry foul if they make the Dodgers win four games.
      And yes, Puig was terrific yesterday, showing off his ability at the plate, on the bases and in the outfield. But after the HBP, he got even more aggressive than usual and struck out twice on pitches well outside the strike zone. Take the good with the bad, I suppose.

  7. MyTeamsAllStink - Oct 4, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    whatever the Dodgers end up paying Kershaw will be worth every penny.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      You know if they don’t pay the Evil Empire will.

      • davidpom50 - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        I thought the Dodgers WERE the Evil Empire now?

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