Mil­wau­kee wins at home

L.A.’s Ker­shaw gets roughed up while Brew­ers build lead

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS WEEKEND - By Jay Co­hen

MIL­WAU­KEE — Clay­ton Ker­shaw pounded his glove with his left hand and yelled, “Let's Go!” as he walked off the mound. Pretty soon, he was gone. Ker­shaw was hit hard in the short­est start of his spotty play­off ca­reer, and the sloppy Los An­ge­les Dodgers lost 6-5 to the Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers in Game 1 of the NL Cham­pi­onship Series on Fri­day night.

Los An­ge­les com­mit­ted four er­rors, in­clud­ing two by catcher Yas­mani Gran­dal in Mil­wau­kee's two-run third. But an­other play­off flop for its ace left-han­der might be its big­gest con­cern as it tries to cool off streak­ing Mil­wau­kee.

Game 2 is this af­ter­noon at Miller Park.

Ker­shaw holds the team records for play­off wins (eight), starts (21), in­nings (133) and strike­outs (144), but is just 8-8 with a 4.26 ERA in 26 ca­reer post­sea­son ap­pear­ances. The Dodgers dropped to 13-13 when the three-time NL Cy Young Award win­ner takes the mound in the play­offs.

The 30-year-old Ker­shaw qui­eted some of those Oc­to­ber ques­tions when the Dodgers won the NL pen­nant last year for the first time since 1988, go­ing 3-0 with a 3.82 ERA in six ap­pear­ances. He pitched six sparkling in­nings in the NLCS-clinch­ing vic­tory at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, and worked four score­less in­nings in re­lief in Los An­ge­les' Game 7 loss to Hous­ton in the World Series.

Af­ter he was passed over for Los An­ge­les' Game 1 start in the NL Divi­sion Series this year, the 2014 NL MVP re­sponded with eight in­nings of two-hit ball in a 3-0 vic­tory over At­lanta.

The vic­tory against the Baby Braves was one of his best play­off per­for­mances. The loss against the Brew­ers was one of his worst.

The night started to get away from Ker­shaw and the Dodgers when re­liever Bran­don Woodruff led off the third in­ning with a mas­sive drive to right-cen­ter, be­com­ing the third re­liever in ma­jor league his­tory to homer in a post­sea­son game.

Ker­shaw glanced back with an in­cred­u­lous look as Woodruff's ball soared over the wall, ty­ing it at 1 and send­ing a charge through the sell­out crowd of 43,615.

A passed ball and an in­ter­fer­ence call on Gran­dal helped set up Her­nan Perez's sac­ri­fice fly be­fore Ker­shaw min­i­mized the dam­age by strik­ing out Mike Mous­takas, strand­ing two run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion and lead­ing to his emo­tional dis­play as he headed to­ward the dugout.

What­ever he was try­ing to do, it didn't work.

Los An­ge­les went down in or­der in the fourth and Mil­wau­kee's first three bat­ters reached in the bot­tom half, chas­ing Ker­shaw and pro­duc­ing two more runs on Domingo San­tana's pinch-hit sin­gle. San­tana swiped sec­ond and scored on Ryan Braun's two-out sin­gle against Ryan Mad­son.

Braun's clutch swing closed the book on Ker­shaw, who was charged with five runs, four earned, and six hits. He dropped to 2-5 with a 5.24 ERA in 11 ca­reer NLCS games.

Ker­shaw's short­est play­off start be­fore the loss to Mil­wau­kee was four-plus in­nings in a 9-0 loss at St. Louis in Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS, end­ing Los An­ge­les' sea­son.

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 cen­ter fielder Lorenzo Cain's glove with two outs be­fore Corey Knebel fanned Justin Turner to end it.

Manny Machado home­red and drove in three runs for Los An­ge­les.

To­day Wade Mi­ley will pitch for the Brew­ers against Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in four ca­reer post­sea­son starts.

Mil­wau­kee man­ager Craig Coun­sell's pitch­ingby-com­mit­tee strat­egy con­tin­ued to be a hit, at least un­til the late in­nings.

Fi­nally, the hard-throw­ing Knebel re­stored or­der by strik­ing out Turner. Knebel walked Joc Ped­er­son with two outs be­fore Tay­lor's long drive.

Early in the game an­other mis­er­able Oc­to­ber night was just be­gin­ning for Ker­shaw, whose reg­u­lar-sea­son bril­liance has of­ten dis­ap­peared in the post­sea­son.

And it wasn't even Chris­tian Yelich and the Brew­ers' stars who got to him. Her­nan Perez hit a sac­ri­fice fly later in the third, and pinch-hit­ter Domingo San­tana had a two-run sin­gle in the fourth for a 4-1 lead that chased Ker­shaw from the mound with no­body out.

It was the short­est post­sea­son start of Ker­shaw's ca­reer. He had a 4.65 ERA in 10 ca­reer ap­pear­ances, in­clud­ing seven starts, go­ing into Fri­day.

That ERA went up af­ter al­low­ing six hits and five runs — four earned — in three-plus in­nings.

Je­sus Aguilar added a solo home run in the sev­enth for the Brew­ers, his sec­ond of the post­sea­son. Cain went 3 for 5 and scored a run.

Their late-sea­son run has earned Brew­ers fans a free burger at an area restau­rant chain.

Ge­orge Webb Restaurants has a long-stand­ing pro­mo­tion to give away a free burger when­ever the Brew­ers win 12 straight.

It's time to dine af­ter a dozen. Ge­orge Webb planned to an­nounce the give­away date and time af­ter the game.

Fol­low­ing Sun­day’s travel day, the series moves to Los An­ge­les for Game 3 on Mon­day and Game 4 on Tues­day, with a Game (if nec­es­sary) sched­uled for Wednesday.

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