‘A grind’ for Kershaw

Baltimore Sun - - MLB PLAYOFFS - By Howard Fendrich

WASH­ING­TON — Hardly at his best, as usual when it comes to Oc­to­ber, Clay­ton Kershaw still man­aged to do just enough to earn a rare post­sea­son vic­tory.

Backed by early home runs from rookie sen­sa­tion Corey Sea­ger and Justin Turner off Max Scherzer in a matchup of Cy Young Award win­ners that promised more than it de­liv­ered, Kershaw worked around eight hits with the help of seven strike­outs Fri­day to help the Dodgers edge the Na­tion­als 4-3 in Game 1 of their NL Di­vi­sion Se­ries.

“It was a grind,” Kershaw said. “A lot of guys on base all the time. Def­i­nitely wasn’t easy. As close as you can bend with­out break­ing, I guess.”

In his five in­nings against the NL East champs, Kershaw al­lowed three runs and needed 101 pitches. Still, he im­proved his play­off record to 3-6 even though his ERA rose to 4.65.

Those num­bers are a far cry from his reg­u­lar-sea­son marks of 126-60, 2.37 ERA and three Cy Youngs. But maybe Kershaw’s arm felt stronger be­cause he sat out more than two months with a bad back be­fore re­turn­ing in Septem­ber.

“It feels good to win, and it feels good to win in this sit­u­a­tion,” Kershaw said. “If I had pitched seven shutout in­nings and we lost, it’s a dif­fer­ent feel­ing.”

He was staked to a 4-0 lead, thanks mainly to Sea­ger and Turner, be­fore slowly giv­ing back most of that mar­gin.

In the third in­ning, Anthony Ren­don ripped a sin­gle to left field on a Kershaw slider that didn’t re­ally slide, bring­ing home Max Scherzer in the dugout be­fore he and the Na­tion­als lost Game 1. Scherzer gave up four runs in six in­nings. DODGERS VS. NA­TION­ALS Dodgers lead 1-0 Game 1: Dodgers 4-3 Game 2: 4 p.m. Satur­day Dodgers (Hill 12-5) at Na­tion­als (Roark 16-10), FS1 Game 3: 4 p.m. Monday Na­tion­als (Gon­za­lez 11-11) at Dodgers (Maeda 16-10), MLB Game 4: 5 p.m. Tues­day* Na­tion­als at Dodgers, FS1 Game 5: 5 p.m. Thurs­day* Dodgers at Na­tion­als, FS1 x-if nec­es­sary two run­ners and get­ting the Nats within to 4-2.

Trea Turner’s sac­ri­fice fly in the fourth cut the Dodgers’ lead to a run.

The Dodgers started their as­sault on Scherzer in the first in­ning. On the first pitch he saw from Scherzer, Sea­ger turned on a 97 mph fast­ball and hit it out.

The Dodgers made it 4-0 in the third on Chase Ut­ley’s RBI sin­gle and Justin Turner’s two-run shot.

“I made some mis­takes, and they cost me,” Scherzer said. “I take own­er­ship of that, and I’m ac­count­able for that.”

ALEX BRAN­DON/AP

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