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Clayton Kershaw strikes out 12 as Dodgers defeat Braves, 6-1

October 03, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the National League division series on Thursday.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )

The Dodgers looked like that team from midsummer that stormed to the top of the division, while Clayton Kershaw looked a lot like the pitcher they’ve seen all season.

It all proved too much for the Atlanta Braves, who saw the Dodgers jump out to a 6-1 victory in the opener of their National League division series at Turner Field in Atlanta on Thursday.

Kershaw was dominating, striking out 12 Braves and holding them to the one run on just three hits in his seven innings.

BOX SCORE: Dodgers 6, Braves 1

It was the second-most strikeouts in the postseason for a Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, after the 15 New York Yankees Sandy Koufax struck out in the opener of the 1963 World Series.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, scored their six runs on 11 hits. They jumped out to a 5-0 lead after four innings and then let Kershaw bring them home. They made it look pretty easy.

They scored on the speed of Yasiel Puig, the power of Adrian Gonzalez and with two hits each from A.J. Ellis (both doubles) and Mark Ellis.

The Dodgers almost looked like they’d flipped a switch, putting behind their 12-14 September and resembling the team that went 42-8 in the middle of the summer.

The Dodgers will try to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series Friday when Zack Greinke is scheduled to oppose Atlanta’s Mike Minor.

Here's an inning-by-inning recap of Game 1:

Dodgers 6, Braves 1 (bottom of ninth):

Kenley Jansen came on to pitch a scoreless ninth. He walked one and gave up a pop single, and struck out two. It took him, however, 25 pitches.

Dodgers 6, Braves 1 (middle of ninth):

They're just counting the outs now. The Dodgers went down in order against Atlanta's sixth pitcher, Luis Avilan.

Kenley Jansen is coming in to pitch the bottom of the inning.

Dodgers 6, Braves 1 (end of eight):

The Braves are running out of time. Brian Wilson took over for Clayton Kershaw in the bottom of the eighth, but not much changed.

The bearded one gave up one single, but otherwise the Braves went quietly. As they mostly have all night.

Dodgers 6, Braves 1 (middle of eight):

Andre Ethier pinch hit for Clayton Kershaw, ending an outstanding start for the left-hander.

He finished with 12 strikeouts, the second most for a Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher in the postseason behind Sandy Koufax, who struck out 15 Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series.

Ethier bounced out as the Dodgers went down in order.

Dodgers 6, Braves 1 (end of seventh):

Clayton Kershaw should be done after pitching a scoreless seventh. He's thrown 124 pitches after striking out the side again.

He has 12 strikeouts, a team division record, and the first time a Dodger had at least 10 in the postseason since Tim Belcher had 10 in Game 2 of the 1988 National League Championship Series. 

The Braves tied the Mets for most strikeouts in the National League this season, so watching them whiff against Kershaw wasn't exactly a surprise.

Kershaw gave up the one run on three hits. He did walk three.

Dodgers 6, Braves 1 (middle of seventh):

The Dodgers went quietly against the Braves' fourth pitcher, left-hander Alex Wood. They went in order, and so quietly, it almost felt like a different game.

Clayton Kershaw was on deck as the last out was recorded and is apparently coming back out to pitch the seventh.

Dodgers 6, Braves 1 (end of sixth);

Clayton Kershaw is at 104 pitches after six innings, yet somehow just seems to be hitting his stride.

Kershaw retired the side in order again, and struck out six consecutive Braves before Evan Grattis grounded out to end the inning. Kershaw has nine strikeouts.

Been awhile since Turner Field heard that war chant. Fans, those who actually showed, are starting to stream out of the ballpark.

Dodgers 6, Braves 1 (middle of sixth):

Everybody wants in on the act for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers pushed their lead back to five runs after Mark Ellis singled off ex-Angel Jordan Walden and was doubled home by Hanley Ramirez.

Every Dodgers position player but Skip Schumaker has at least one hit, and Schumaker sacrificed their first run in. Through their six innings, the Dodgers have 11 hits.

Dodgers 5, Braves 1 (end of fifth):

After laboring in the fourth, Clayton Kershaw looked more like the pitcher the Dodgers are used to seeing.

He struck out the side on 14 pitches. He now has seven strikeouts on the night.

Dodgers 5, Braves 1 (middle of fifth):

The Dodgers missed an opportunity to blow the game open after loading the bases with one out.

Adrian Gonzalez singled and Yasiel Puig was hit in the back by a pitch, ending the night for right-hander Kris Medlen.

Manager Don Mattingly, as he loves to do, had Juan Uribe of all people, bunt to sacrifice the runners up. Reliever Luis Ayala actually had Gonzalez at third, but oddly elected to throw out Uribe.

Wasn't much of a sacrifice. Ayala was then able to strike out A.J. Ellis and Clayton Kershaw to end the threat.

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