DeGrom outduels Kershaw with 13 Ks; Mets beat Dodgers 3-1
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jacob deGrom sure seems to thrive on baseball’s biggest stages.
He struck out the side on 10 pitches in one inning of the All-Star game in July.
He was even better in his postseason debut.
DeGrom struck out 13 over seven scoreless innings and Daniel Murphy homered off a star-crossed Clayton Kershaw to help the New York Mets defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 on Friday night for a 1-0 lead in their NL Division Series.
”Before the game I was pretty nervous,” said deGrom, who at 27 is in just his second major league season. ”But once I got out there warming up, I kind of settled down. It really went away after the first pitch I threw.”
DeGrom (1-0) limited the Dodgers to five hits and walked one. The right-hander’s strikeouts tied the franchise playoff record set by Tom Seaver in Game 1 of the 1973 NL Championship Series.
”I’ve got a little more confidence out there,” deGrom said. ”There were a couple times tonight, 3-2, where I threw a couple change-ups. Last year I probably wouldn’t have done that.”
Kershaw (0-1) endured his fifth straight postseason loss after giving up the seventh playoff homer of his career. Last season’s NL MVP allowed three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out 11 and walked four.
”I got outpitched, plain and simple,” he said.
Three of Kershaw’s walks came in the seventh, before Mets captain David Wright had a two-out, two-run single off Pedro Baez that put New York up 3-0.
”It’s been nine years since I felt this,” said Wright, who missed 115 games with injuries this season. ”That’s about as sweet as I thought it was going to be.”
Runs will likely again be at a premium when the Dodgers try to even the series Saturday night in Game 2. They start major league ERA leader Zack Greinke against Noah Syndergaard of the Mets.
With a game-time temperature of 92 degrees, both pitchers came out throwing heat. Kershaw, the major league strikeout leader with 301 in the regular season, retired six of his first nine batters. DeGrom, last year’s NL rookie of the year, struck out two batters in each of his first four innings.
”He was unbelievable right from the get-go,” Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. ”He had command of all four of his pitches and he was just being himself out there, having fun. There’s a lot of good seats out there, but I had the best seat in the house.”
DeGrom became the first Mets pitcher with 10 or more strikeouts in the playoffs since Dwight Gooden in Game 1 of the 1988 NLCS at Dodger Stadium. DeGrom retired his final 11 batters, subduing the white towel-waving crowd of 54,428.
”To have him go out there against Clayton tonight and win the game is a huge lift for us,” said Mets manager Terry Collins, who got a victory in his postseason debut at age 66. ”This is a good start for a team that hadn’t been in the postseason for a long time. We needed a confidence boost and Jake gave it to us.”
Jeurys Familia got four outs to earn the save.
Murphy homered leading off the fourth to give New York a 1-0 lead before Kershaw retired the next three batters. Kershaw stumbled in the seventh, giving up three walks before being relieved by Baez, who served up Wright’s hit.
Wright’s hit whizzed past leaping second baseman Howie Kendrick and into center field, scoring Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada
The Dodgers finally scored in the eighth on Adrian Gonzalez’s two-out RBI single that left them trailing 3-1. He struck out in his first three at-bats.
Catcher A.J. Ellis had one of the Dodgers’ five hits off deGrom.
”Just electric stuff,” he said of the Mets’ ace. ”That’s as good of an arm as I’ve seen all year long. He’s got great composure, great poise out there.”
Kershaw nearly helped himself in the fourth when the Dodgers trailed by one. With two runners on, he hit a long flyball to center field that was caught by Yoenis Cespedes to end the inning.
The left-hander threw 22 pitches in the first inning, including 12 on a walk to Wright. In the second, a ball hit by Duda went off Kershaw’s right foot, but he didn’t appear to be affected and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Los Angeles lost its third straight postseason game, having been beaten in four games by St. Louis in last year’s NLDS. The Dodgers lost the final two games, with Kershaw tagged for the loss while pitching on three days’ rest in Game 4.
The teams combined for 27 strikeouts, one short of the all-time playoff record for a nine-inning game set by San Diego (17) and Houston (11) on Sept. 29, 1998, in Game 1 of the NLDS. It was the first game in major league playoff history where both starters had 11 or more strikeouts and just the second game in postseason history in which each starter had at least 10.
Cespedes was hitless in four at-bats, including three strikeouts, just the second time this season he was fanned three times in a game. He was still playing for Detroit on June 24 at Cleveland when Carlos Carrasco struck him out twice and Cody Allen once.
Greinke (19-3, major league-best 1.66 ERA) starts for the Dodgers against Syndergaard (9-7, 3.24). Greinke beat the Mets 4-3 on July 4 at home in his only start against them this season. Syndergaard had a no-decision in the Mets’ 2-1 win at Dodger Stadium on July 3 in his only career start against Los Angeles.