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Major League Baseball (MLB)

Clayton Kershaw pitches LA Dodgers past Houston Astros 3-1 in hot World Series opener

Dodgers ace strikes out 11 and gives up just three hits as Justin Turner smashes tiebreaking two-run homer in Game One

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, 11:57am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 October, 2017, 11:57am

No sweat, Clayton Kershaw.

Changing jerseys to beat the 103-degree heat, the Dodgers ace with a checkered playoff history delivered a signature performance, pitching Los Angeles past the Houston Astros 3-1 in the World Series opener.

Boosted by Justin Turner’s tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning off Dallas Keuchel, Kershaw was in complete control against the highest-scoring team in the majors this season.

“I felt good. It’s a tough line-up over there,” Kershaw said. “The way Keuchel was throwing it was up and down a lot, which was good. It got us into a rhythm a little bit. I think for me personally, it helped out a lot.”

The left-hander had waited his whole career for this moment. And once he took the mound in his Series debut, he lived up every bit to the legacy of Sandy Koufax, Orel Hershiser and the greatest of Dodgers hurlers.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out 11, gave up just three hits and walked none over seven innings, featuring a sharp breaking ball that often left Houston batters looking foolish. His lone blemish was a home run by Alex Bregman in the fourth that made it 1-1.

Brandon Morrow worked a perfect eighth and Kenley Jansen breezed through the Astros in the ninth for a save in a combined three-hitter. The Dodgers’ dominant relievers have thrown 25 straight scoreless innings this postseason.

With both aces throwing well, the opener zipped by in two hours and 28 minutes – fastest in the World Series since Game Four in 1992 between Toronto and Atlanta. Jimmy Key and the Blue Jays won that one 2-1 in 2:21.

And it certainly was unusual for this postseason, with games averaging three hours and 32 minutes – up 18 minutes from two years ago.

A pulsating crowd that came to see the Dodgers’ first Series game since 1988 enjoyed an immediate jolt when Chris Taylor hit a no-doubt home run on Keuchel’s very first pitch.

Taylor was the co-MVP of the NL Championship Series with Turner, and they both kept swinging away against the Astros.

The loss left the Astros still without a single World Series win in their 56-season history. In their only other Series appearance, they were swept by the White Sox in 2005.

Game Two is on Thursday morning (Hong Kong time), with AL Championship Series MVP Justin Verlander starting against Dodgers lefty Rich Hill.