Ker­shaw helps Dodgers blank Cubs, NLCS even at 1-all

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Jay Co­hen

CHICAGO >> So much for Oc­to­ber closer. With his Dodgers des­per­ate for a win, Clay­ton Ker­shaw de­liv­ered the most dom­i­nant start of his check­ered play­off ca­reer.

The ace left-han­der pitched seven sparkling in­nings, Adrian Gon­za­lez home­red and Los An­ge­les beat the Chicago Cubs 1-0 Sun­day night to tie the NL Cham­pi­onship Series at a game apiece.

Ker­shaw re­tired his first 14 bat­ters and al­lowed just two hits in first out­ing since he pitched three times in the NL Di­vi­sion Series, in­clud­ing a two-out save in Game 5 on Thurs­day night in Wash­ing­ton. The three­time NL Cy Young Award win­ner struck out six and walked one in the best play­off start of his check­ered ca­reer.

The Dodgers needed a clutch pitch­ing per­for­mance after their heart­break­ing 8-4 loss in the series opener. And Ker­shaw pro­duced a post­sea­son gem that con­tin­ued his rep­u­ta­tion re­pair after a hand­ful of play­off duds over the years. He was just 3-6 with a 4.79 ERA in 16 ca­reer post­sea­son games com­ing into the series.

Ken­ley Jansen struck out four in two per­fect in­nings for a save.

Game 3 is Tues­day night in Los An­ge­les. Cubs righthander Jake Ar­ri­eta, who pitched a no-hit­ter at Dodger Sta­dium last Au­gust, faces left-han­der Rich Hill, who worked a to­tal of seven in­nings in two starts in the Di­vi­sion Series against the Na­tion­als.

The Cubs lost a 1-0 game in the post­sea­son for the first time since Babe Ruth and the Bos­ton Red Sox blanked them in the 1918 World Series opener.

Chicago, try­ing for its first pen­nant in 71 years, wasted a solid start by ma­jor league ERA leader Kyle Hen­dricks, who pitched 5 1/3 in­nings of three-hit ball in his first out­ing since he left his Di­vi­sion Series start against San Fran­cisco with a bruised right fore­arm.

Hen­dricks’ only mis­take was a sec­ond-in­ning fast­ball that Gon­za­lez drove over the wall in left-cen­ter for his sec­ond homer of the play­offs. Gon­za­lez also had a ty­ing two-run sin­gle in the eighth in­ning of the series opener, but Miguel Mon­tero’s pinch-hit grand slam was the big blow in a dra­matic win for Chicago.

A day later, the Cubs couldn’t get any­thing go­ing against Ker­shaw.

Slump­ing slug­ger An­thony Rizzo just missed a home run with a foul drive in the fourth, and then bounced out. Javier Baez and Will­son Con­tr­eras hit con­sec­u­tive two-out sin­gles in the fifth for Chicago’s first baserun­ners against Ker­shaw, but Ja­son Hey­ward fouled out to third.

Noth­ing seemed to bother Ker­shaw on a muggy night at Wrigley Field. After catcher Yas­mani Gran­dal dropped a foul popup in the sev­enth, Ker­shaw re­sponded with a wry grin, and then struck out Ben Zo­brist.

With two down and a run­ner on first, Baez drove Ker­shaw’s fi­nal pitch to the warn­ing track in cen­ter, mo­men­tar­ily de­light­ing the crowd of 42,384. But Joc Ped­er­son was there for the catch.

Jansen backed Ker­shaw with flaw­less re­lief. The big right-han­der struck out Dex­ter Fowler and Kris Bryant be­fore Rizzo lined meekly to sec­ond for the fi­nal out.


Los An­ge­les Dodgers start­ing pitcher Clay­ton Ker­shaw (22) throws dur­ing the fourth in­ning of Game 2 of the Na­tional League base­ball cham­pi­onship series against the Chicago Cubs, Sun­day in Chicago.

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