Brewers chase Kershaw, hold off Dodgers
The Milwaukee Brewers chased Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw early then held on for a 6-5 victory to seize the advantage in their Major League Baseball playoff series.
The Brewers scored five runs in three-plus innings against three-time Cy Young Awardwinner Kershaw at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
The most surprising was a home run by rookie relief pitcher Brandon Woodruff in the third inning that knotted the score at 1-1 after Manny Machado’s second-inning homer put the Dodgers ahead.
Woodruff, 25, led off the third after replacing Brewers starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez on the mound after the second inning.
He belted a 92 mph (148 Km/h) fastball from Kershaw over the right field fence, notching the fifth hit of his major league career.
He also retired all six batters he faced, three with strikeouts.
“It’s something obviously coming in the day you don’t know in your wildest dreams that that’s going to happen, to be able to get an at-bat off Kershaw and hit a home run,” Woodruff said.
“But you know, I rounded first, and once I knew it was gone, it was just one of those kind of moments where you’re not really thinking, you know, and I was just letting some emotion out. You know, it was a cool moment, and I was happy that I could just go out there and do it for the team.”
Milwaukee gained another run in the third on Hernan Perez’s sacrifice fly. Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal endured a nightmare inning, committing a catcher’s interference on a lineout by Jesus Aguilar along with his second passed ball of the night and another error on a throw from the outfield.
Milwaukee pinch-hitter Domingo Santana’s single scored two runs in the fourth to send Kershaw packing with no one out in another disappointing outing for the star pitcher.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts declined to be drawn into discussion of Kershaw’s postseason lapses and said he suffered from the sloppy defensive play of the Dodgers overall.
“First of all, we gave up too many bases,” Roberts said. “We didn’t play clean when he was in the game.
“The errors affected the game. But as far as Clayton, I just think it was poor execution. And I thought the stuff was good, but he just made mistakes in the strike zone and defensively, again, we didn’t do him any favours.”
The Brewers won their 12th straight game as they took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series with game two also in Milwaukee on Saturday.
ASTROS-RED SOX ON DECK
The winners of the series will face either the reigning champion Houston Astros or the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. The Astros and Red Sox were to open the American League Championship Series in Boston on Saturday.
The Dodgers, trying to earn a return trip to the World Series after falling in game seven to the Astros last season, trailed 6-1 through seven innings but scored three runs in the eighth to trim the deficit to two.
They put the potential tying run at third base in the ninth inning after Joc Pederson walked and then scored when Chris Taylor belted a triple to centre that Brewers centre fielder Lorenzo Cain couldn’t keep his glove on at the wall.
But Brewers reliever Corey Knebel struck out Justin Turner to end the game.
Milwaukee Brewers catcher Erik Kratz (left) and relief pitcher Corey Knebel celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of 2018 NLCS playoff series at Miller Park.