Clayton Kershaw had a vintage performance and the Los Angeles Dodgers received contributions up and down the lineup for an 8-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series.
The Dodgers’ blueprint of stressing the opposing pitcher early once again proved fruitful. This time it was Tyler Glasnow who felt the grind of the Dodgers lineup, as they put at least one runner on through each of the first three innings.
L.A. had nothing to show for it up to that point but Max Muncy’s leadoff walk ultimately set the table for a payoff. Two batters later Cody Bellinger connected for a home run that landed in the Dodgers’ bullpen in right-center field to break up the scoreless tie.
It was Bellinger’s second consecutive game with a home run, but it was celebrated more tepidly than what caused his right shoulder to dislocate. Bellinger instead did a toe tap with each his teammates in the dugout.
After their lead was cut in half on Kevin Kiermaier’s two-out home run in the fifth, the Dodgers erupted in the bottom half of the inning to chase Glasnow. Walks by Mookie Betts and Corey Seager put two on with nobody out and both advanced shortly after on a double steal.
Betts’ aggressive secondary lead from third base proved key as he slid in ahead of a tag on Muncy’s chopper to the right side of a drawn-in infield. Will Smith followed with an RBI single and Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez each drove in a run with a base hit off Ryan Yarbrough.
Betts’ leadoff home run and doubles by Justin Turner and Muncy combined to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 8-1. The home run was Betts’ first of the postseason with the Dodgers and he became the first player in MLB history to hit a homer, steal two bases and score two runs in a World Series game.
With a comfortable lead in hand, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called it a night for Kershaw at 78 pitches over six innings with just the one run allowed. Kershaw finished with eight strikeouts, giving him 201 all-time in the postseason. That’s secondly only to Justin Verlander (205).
Handing the game over to the bullpen initially backfired. Manuel Margot singled off Dylan Floro with one out and Bellinger was unable to make a running catch at the wall, resulting in a double for Joey Wendle.
Victor Gonzalez didn’t fare much better, allowing consecutive RBI singles upon entering the game. Gonzalez then had fortune on his side as he snagged a line-drive comebacker for the start of an inning-ending double play to shut off the Ray’s rally.
Pedro Baez and Joe Kelly then combined to finish out the game, which helped preserve the group of relievers heading into a likely bullpen game in Game 2.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!