LOS ANGELES (The Sports Xchange) - The New York Mets extended the postseason woes of Clayton Kershaw and stunned the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of their National League Division Series on Friday.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy homered and Jacob deGrom struck out a career-high 13, sparking the Mets to a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers before a sellout crowd of 54,428 at Dodger Stadium.
DeGrom limited the Dodgers to five hits and walked one in seven innings. His 13 strikeouts tied Tom Seaver’s franchise mark for a postseason performance, which the Hall of Famer set in Game One of the 1973 National League Championship Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
“I think just mixing it up on them,” said DeGrom, who retired the final 11 batters he faced, on why he was so successful against the Dodgers.
“My change-up was good tonight, and I threw a few strikeouts to lefties, but also was locating my fastball pretty good, too. So I think just trying to keep them off balance and get ahead.”
DeGrom and Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, who struck out 11, became the first two opposing pitchers to strike out at least 10 hitters each in a playoff game.
It tied for second all-time in a postseason game, knotting the 24 fanned by Florida Marlins right-hander Livan Hernandez (15) and Atlanta Braves ace Greg Maddux (nine) in the NLDS in 1997.
The pair fell one strikeout shy of the record 25 combined by Kevin Brown (16) of the San Diego Padres and Randy Johnson (nine) of the Houston Astros in the 1998 NLDS.
But deGrom had the upper hand in this affair.
“I thought we did a pretty good job with him of not chasing the change or the breaking ball down, but with that you end up chasing some elevated fastballs, and I think he beat us with that a little bit,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
“We had a few chances. We just weren’t able to get that hit early.”
Mets closer Jeurys Familia worked a perfect 1-1/3 innings for the save.
With the win, the Mets took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Game Two is on Saturday, also at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw lost his fifth straight playoff game. Kershaw, who is 1-6 in the postseason, was charged with three runs on four hits with four walks, which tied a season-high, in 6-2/3 innings. He lost to the Mets for the first time in 10 career starts.
Murphy gave the Mets an early lead, driving a 2-0 Kershaw fastball into the visitor’s bullpen in right field for a solo blast to open the fourth inning.
“My first at-bat, he chewed me up and spit me out,” said Murphy, who carries a .317 career batting average against the Dodgers with 14 home runs and 17 RBIs.
“The next at-bat I was able to get my foot down a little earlier. He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and I felt really fortunate to put a good swing on the ball he threw me.”
With two outs in the seventh and the bases loaded, third baseman David Wright laced a two-run single up the middle off reliever Pedro Baez to make it 3-0.
“I was able to put a good swing on it,” Wright said. “When a guy is throwing that hard, you allow him to provide the power and you just try to go nice and easy, and just make sure you just get to it and beat him to the spot.”
The Dodgers scored a run on first baseman Adrian Gonzalez’s RBI single to left, scoring second baseman Howie Kendrick, who reached on a double, to slice the lead to two runs with two outs in the eighth. However, Familia induced third baseman Justin Turner to line out to first to limit the damage.
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes