LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw shed post-season disappointments of the past as he dominated a dangerous Houston Astros lineup to help his side to a 3-1 victory in Game One of the World Series on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old, who has anchored the Dodgers rotation and battled through a back problem to post an 18-4 record with a 2.31 ERA this season, has perhaps unfairly become the face of the expensively-assembled team’s failure to advance to the World Series despite making the playoffs every year since 2013.
Until his World Series debut on Tuesday he had a 6-7 record in 17 previous post-season starts but finally replicated the form that has earned him three Cy Young Awards as he was virtually untouchable and allowed three hits and no walks.
“He was unbelievable,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner told reporters. “And he’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever been around in my life.
“To see him out there doing what he did to one of the best offenses in baseball. It was incredible.”
Kershaw tossed 83 pitches in sweltering temperatures during a game that lasted just two hours and 28 minutes and the lefthander said he had felt no additional pressure.
“I don’t know if you can decipher between a post-season start and a World Series start,” Kershaw said. “The adrenaline, I feel like every game is so much more magnified.
“But it definitely feels good to say it was the World Series.”
His performance also earned praise from his manager.
“Tonight was one of those nights I think, for the first time in a while, where we’ve seen all three of (Kershaw’s) pitches synched up,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“This was a special night for Clayton.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury