Brewers stymie Dodgers’ rally in opener
MILWAUKEE 6 LOS ANGELES 5 (Brewers lead series 1-0)
MILWAUKEE — Reliever Brandon Woodruff stunned ace Clayton Kershaw with a solo home run and the typically efficient Milwaukee bullpen barely held on as the Brewers beat the sloppy Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 Friday night in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series.
Hard-throwing Josh Hader and the Brewers earned their 12th straight win, one shy of the franchise record set to open the 1987 season.
The Dodgers scored three times in the eighth to make it 6-4, then nearly tied it in the ninth. Chris Taylor hit an RBI triple off centre fielder Lorenzo Cain’s glove with two outs before Corey Knebel fanned Justin Turner to end it.
Kershaw was chased before he could retire in the fourth inning.
Manny Machado homered and drove in three runs for Los Angeles. The Dodgers committed four errors, including two by catcher Yasmani Grandal, who also had two passed balls.
Game 2 is today at Miller Park, with Wade Miley pitching for the Brewers against Hyun-Jin Ryu. • BOSTON — J.D. Martinez wants to thank the Houston Astros — not get back at them — for releasing him when he was struggling to make himself into a star.
The Red Sox slugger credits his growing pains in Houston for teaching him “how to fail,” a lesson he credits with transforming him into an MVP candidate who helped Boston win a franchise-record 108 games and reach the AL Championship Series against his former team.
“My failures in Houston is what made me who I am,” Martinez said Friday, a day before the Astros and Red Sox open the best-of-seven series. “There’s really no animosity there. In a sense they did me a favour by allowing me to leave and play on another team.”
It will be the second straight year the Red Sox and Astros meet in the post-season — last year it was the ALDS — and the second straight year that aces Chris Sale will go against Justin Verlander in the opener.
The biggest difference this time: Boston has Martinez on its side. And the Astros could have. Martinez made his big-league debut for Houston in 2011, driving in 28 runs in his first full month in the majors. After playing part time the next two years — hitting 18 homers with 91 RBIs in 199 games — he was 26 years old and batting .167 in the spring of 2014 when the Astros released him, preferring to give the at-bats to top prospect George Springer.
Martinez landed with Detroit that season and by 2015 he was an All-Star, hitting 38 homers with 102 RBIs. He hit 45 homers last year, when he was traded from the Tigers to Diamondbacks and was 14th in MVP voting.
Milwaukee’s Lorenzo Cain scores as a throw gets past Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal during the third inning of Game 1 Friday night in Milwaukee.