Clayton Kershaw opened up the series for the Dodgers against the St. Louis Cardinals in game one of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS last season, but didn’t have a healthy Matt Kemp or Hanley Ramirez, and didn’t have the home field advantage. The Dodgers outscored the Cardinals by 99 runs this season, and arguably have the best pitching staff in the playoffs. Kershaw entered the game with a 40-2 record when the Dodgers scored six runs, something that would come into play later in the game.
Kershaw gave up two solo home runs in the first six innings, striking out eight batters along the way. Kershaw looked to be dealing through his 6 2/3 innings pitched, but struggled in the seventh inning. The first Cardinal hit that wasn’t a home run came in the seventh inning, and two more hits followed to load the bases with no outs. Kershaw worked in the stretch for the first time all game in the bases loaded jam. Kershaw struck out two batters in the inning, but surrendered five runs before being relieved by Pedro Baez. Matt Carpenter battled through an eight pitch at bat before sending a bases clearing double into the right center field gap to take a 7-6 lead, that being the hit that chased Kershaw out of the game. A three run home run from Matt Holiday gave the Cardinals a 10-6 lead, capping off an eight run seventh inning. Kershaw becomes the first pitcher in postseason history to give up seven plus earned runs in consecutive starts, both of those coming against the Cardinals.
The Dodgers offense got things going in the third inning, scoring two runs in the third, fourth, and fifth inning. Cardinals’ pitcher Adam Wainwright hit Yasiel Puig on the shoulder, firing up Adrian Gonzalez who had something to say to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. The benches cleared, and the Dodgers stepped things up. Gonzalez grounded out, moving Puig to second base. Ramirez singled to right field, driving Puig home to tie the game at one. Ramirez stole second base, and scored on a ground rule double from Carl Crawford to right field. Puig drove in A.J. Ellis after a leadoff single in the fourth inning, pushing the lead to two runs. Gonzalez walked, putting two on with two outs for Matt Kemp. Kemp singled to drive in Puig from second base, giving the boys in blue the 4-1 lead. Crawford singled in the fifth inning before Ellis smashed a two run home run to left field, his third hit in as many as bats. Los Angeles made a push in the eighth inning with a walk from Puig and a two run home run from Gonzalez to right center field, cutting the deficit to two runs. The Dodgers had one last chance in the ninth inning down 10-8. Juan Uribe struck out to leadoff, but Ellis ripped his fourth hit of the night for a single to right field. Andre Ethier followed with a double to left field, moving Ellis to third base. Gordon grounded out to score Ellis, cutting the lead down to one run. Puig came to the plate with the tying run 90 feet away on third base with two outs. Puig came into the at 2-3 with an RBI and a walk. Puig battled through a few pitches before striking out to end the game.
The Dodgers lose game one of the series behind MVP and NL Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw. Zack Greinke will make the start in the second game of the series at Dodger Stadium in a must win situation. Los Angeles has no desire to go back to Busch Stadium down 0-2.