Kershaw pitched seven innings, allowing only three hits and one run to go with 12 strikeouts. The 12 strikeouts by Kershaw set a Dodgers League Division Series record.
Kershaw struggled with his control at times, but remained composed and recorded six consecutive strikeouts in a stretch ranging from the fourth inning to the sixth. Capitalizing on the pension of Braves batters to strike out, Dodger pitchers combined for a total of 15 strike outs.
Four of the Dodgers six runs came with two outs, capped with Adrian Gonzalez’s two-run home run in the third inning that gave the Dodgers a 4-0 lead and they never looked back.
The Dodgers reached six runs for only the third time in their last 10 games.
Yasiel Puig went 2-for-4 in his postseason debut, and in his trademarked fashion, moved from first to third on a single by Juan Uribe before scoring the first run of the game on a Skip Schumaker sacrifice fly.
Prior to the game, Braves starter Kris Medlen had poignant remarks about Kershaw and the Dodgers. Medlen said the Braves felt as though it was Kershaw who missed out on facing the Braves during the team’s seven regular season games.
Medlen further went on to liken the attention the Dodgers were receiving to running for prom king.
After a strong first inning, the Dodgers got to Medlen and he survived only four innings, allowing five runs. The loss is Medlen’s first at Turner Field in his last seven starts.
The win is Kershaw’s first career postseason victory, and Don Mattingly’s first postseason win as manager.
The Dodgers have landed the first punch in the series, but should not be satisfied with simply taking game 1. With a win tomorrow, the Braves would find themselves right back in the series.
Zack Greinke will take the mound on Friday afternoon looking to give the Dodgers a commanding 2-0 series lead.
NLDS schedule and probables; Dodgers lead series 1-0
Game 2: Friday, October 4, Turner Field: Zack Greinke (15-4, 2.63) vs. Mike Minor (13-9, 3.21), 3:00 p.m. PDT.
Game 3: Sunday, October 6, Dodger Stadium: Hyun-jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00) vs. Julio Teheran (13-8, 3.09), 5:00 p.m. PDT.
*Game 4: Monday, October 7, Dodger Stadium: Ricky Nolasco (13-11, 3.70) vs. Freddy Garcia (4-7, 4.37), time TBD.
*Game 5: Wednesday, October 9, Turner Field: TBD.