Chris Taylor lit a spark in the first inning and later set the table for Justin Turner, and Clayton Kershaw was dominant in his World Series debut, which led to the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Houston Astros, 3-1, in Game 1.
Taylor became the third Dodgers player in postseason history to hit a leadoff home run, joining Davey Lopes (1978 World Series) and Carl Crawford (2013 National League Division Series). In addition, Taylor was the fourth player all-time to hit a leadoff home run in Game 1 of the World Series.
Don Buford (1969), Dustin Pedroia (2007) and Alcides Escobar (2015) have also accomplished the feat. With two outs in the sixth inning and the score tied, Taylor worked Dallas Keuchel for a two-out walk.
It was the Dodgers’ first free pass of the night, and it loomed large. Held hitless in his first two at-bats, Turner lifted an elevated fastball into the left-field pavilion for a go-ahead, two-run home run that proved the difference in the game.
Turner’s 26 career postseason RBI tied with Duke Snider for most in Dodgers history. The home run was Turner’s fourth this postseason.
The late lead allowed Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to stick with Clayton Kershaw. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was dominant over his seven innings of work, with the only blemish a leadoff home run allowed to Alex Bregman in the fourth inning.
Even with that, Kershaw struck out the side in the third and fourth innings. It put him at eight strikeouts through the game, and Kershaw reached double digits in the sixth inning. The seventh began in ominous fashion, but Kershaw worked through it.
Following a Jose Altuve leadoff single, Carlos Correa’s chopper to third base was hit too softly to turn a double play on. Then Corey Seager fielded a grounder up the middle but botched the toss to Logan Forsythe at second base, again only resulting in a force out.
With Brandon Morrow warming up, Kershaw retired Brian McCann to end the inning. It marked only the fourth time in Kershaw’s postseason career he completed seven innings.
He did so in historic fashion on Tuesday night, becoming the first Dodgers pitcher to strike out at least 10 in a World Series game since Sandy Koufax in 1965. The double-digit strikeout performance was the fifth of Kershaw’s career in the postseason.
Furthermore, facing an Astros offense that had the fewest strikeouts, Kershaw’s 11 strikeouts were the most by any pitcher against them this year. He was backed Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen, who combined to extend the Dodgers’ bullpen MLB-record scoreless streak in the postseason to 25 innings.
Jansen’s 12 consecutive converted saves in the postseason extended his MLB record.
Although Dallas Keuchel was saddled with the loss, he pitched well in his World Series debut. The Dodgers managed early traffic but were kept at bay by Keuchel inducing three double plays through five innings.
He allowed three runs on six hits, struck out three and walked one over 6.2 innings. Two of those hits came to Seager, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles in his first game back from a lower back sprain.