LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Dodgers, bolstered by a brilliant outing from pitcher Clayton Kershaw and a two-run blast from Justin Turner, beat the Houston Astros 3-1 to draw first blood in the World Series on Tuesday.
Kershaw was even hotter than the record high temperatures at Dodger Stadium, striking out 11 and allowing just three hits while walking none over seven strong innings to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“I felt good. It was hot tonight, so warming up, it didn’t take long to get loose,” the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner said after his first World Series start.
It was a scorching 103 degree F (39.4 C) when the towering lefty threw out the first pitch of the game a little after 5 p.m. local time (0100 GMT).
“I tried to get that first inning under my belt and fortunately I got out of it,” he said.
Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel had a more difficult start after Dodgers leadoff man Chris Taylor put his first offering of the game into the left field stands for a quick 1-0 lead.
Keuchel quickly settled down and the game turned into a fast-moving pitcher’s duel after Astros third baseman Alex Bregman tied the game 1-1 in the fourth with a solo shot to left.
But Turner’s two-out, two-run homer in the sixth was the difference and the Astros lineup, which has struggled on the road all post season long, never threatened again.
Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow threw a perfect eighth and closer Kenley Jansen did the same in the ninth.
Turner’s home run gave him 26 RBIs for the post season, a new Dodgers record and something the third baseman said he could barely process given the players who have come before him.
“I feel extremely proud to be able to put on the same uniform as those guys that have their name on the wall,” he said of players whose numbers have been retired at Dodgers Stadium.
“It’s something that I don’t just walk by every day with my blinders up. I try to soak it in every chance I can.”
Turner said he and the team are feeding off the energy of the passionate fan base that has waited since 1988 for another World Series title.
“This place was the most electric I’ve ever seen it, which it should be since it’s the first World Series here in 29 years,” he said.
“Our fans are fired up. They’re pumped. The buzz around the city is crazy. And obviously we’re all excited to be able to let them enjoy this with us.”
The game wrapped up in a speedy two hours and 28 minutes, the shortest World Series game since Game Four in 1992.
Game Two will take place under similarly sweltering conditions in Los Angeles on Wednesday when Dodgers’ lefthander Rich Hill will face Astros ace Justin Verlander.
Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Nick Mulvenney/Greg Stutchbury