The Los Angeles Dodgers have taken the first game of the 2017 World Series from the Houston Astros by a 3-1 score on a 103-degree night at Dodger Stadium, making this the hottest postseason game in major league history.
Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw breezed through seven innings, striking out 11 with no walks while throwing just 83 pitches. He became the 17th pitcher to post that many strikeouts in a World Series game.
Offensively, Los Angeles scored all of their runs on home runs. Chris Taylor led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot off of Astros ace Dallas Keuchel and Justin Turner broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run blast in the bottom of the sixth.
Keuchel was very good, giving up only three runs and six hits in six innings. The Astros' ace walked one batter. while striking out three. His line, though, was not indicative of how well he pitched.
Third baseman Alex Bregman was the lone source of offense for Houston, hitting a solo home run off of Kershaw in the top of the fourth inning.
Kershaw outduels Keuchel
The three-time Cy Young Award winner was sharp from the beginning, retiring the first seven Houston hitters before Josh Reddick singled with one out in the third inning.
The only blemish on Kershaw's ledger was a solo home run by Bregman in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 1-1. Following the homer, Kershaw retired 12 of the final 13 hitters he faced, lifted after seven masterful innings.
Keuchel was matching Kershaw for most of the game despite allowing the leadoff hitter in the first three innings. Kike Hernandez singled in the bottom of the second, but Corey Seager grounded into a double play. Similarly, Taylor lined into a twin killing after Austin Barnes singled and was sacrificed to second by Kershaw.
NLCS co-MVP's continue to do damage
After a one-two-three first inning by Kershaw, Taylor led off the bottom half of the frame by depositing Keuchel's first pitch into the left field seats.
With the game still tied and chances wasted in the second and third innings, the Dodgers mounted the eventual game-winning rally.
After getting the first two outs on groundouts to shortstop, Keuchel walked Taylor to keep the inning alive and Turner snuck a 2-1 cutter over the left-center field wall to give Los Angeles a 3-1 lead.
Dodgers bullpen continues to overwhelm opposition
Following Kershaw into the game was righthander Brandon Morrow. He continued Los Angeles' bullpen domination, needing just 10 pitches to retire Marwin Gonzalez, Reddick and pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran in order.
Closer Kenley Jansen was effortless in picking up his 12th straight save to start his postseason career, extending his own major league record. The Dodgers bullpen has now pitched 25 straight scoreless innings.
Looking ahead to Game 2
The Astros will look to even up the series with Justin Verlander on the mound while the Dodgers look to another lefty, Rich Hill to take a 2-0 series lead.
Verlander is 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA and 9-0 since his August 31st trade from the Detroit Tigers. This will be his fourth World Series start after pitching in both the 2006 and 2012 Fall Classic with Detroit, going 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA.
Hill will be making his World Series debut. The lefty has taken a no-decision in each of his starts in the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the NLCS against Chicago Cubs while pitching to a 3.00 ERA.
First pitch is scheduled for 8:09 Eastern time and can be seen on FOX.
Seager returned to the Dodgers lineup after missing the previous five games with a back injury, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
The time of the game was 2 hours, 28 minutes, the shortest World Series game since Game 4 of the 1998 Fall Classic between the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres.
Kershaw joined former Dodger Don Newcombe in 1947 as the only pitchers to strike out at least 11 hitters without a walk in a World Series game.