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Jacob deGrom dominates, Clayton Kershaw suffers another defeat

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Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers found themselves on the wrong end of a pitcher's duel, falling to Jacob deGrom and the Mets 3-1 in Game 1 of the National League Division Series with a script ending that seemed all too familiar for Clayton Kershaw.

Down 1-0 in the seventh, Kershaw battled through the heat as his pitch count rose, but he walked three in the inning to load the bases with two outs. It was the first time Kershaw walked three in an inning since April 23, 2013 — in the third inning against the Mets, in New York — 95 starts ago.

"I felt pretty good. That seventh, obviously you can't walk that many guys," Kershaw said. "Just the 3-2 pitch to Tejada I want back. It slipped out there. I really wanted to have that one back."

Pulled after 113 pitches, Kershaw gave way to Pedro Baez, who pumped fastballs to David Wright until the Mets third baseman lined a single up the middle for a two-run lead to put the game out of reach.

During the regular season, Baez with the bases loaded held batters to 0-for-7 with four strikeouts and a sacrifice fly.

In Game 1 of the 2014 NLDS, also on a oppressively hot day at Dodger Stadium, Kershaw tired in the seventh inning (though much more spectacularly so), and left down a run to St. Louis with one runner on base. Baez entered that game too, and walked a batter before allowing a three-run home run to Matt Holliday that neutered the Dodgers' comeback chances in a game they would lose by a run.

The Dodgers would rally for a run in the eighth, with a double by Howie Kendrick and a single by Adrian Gonzalez. But that was it.

In Kershaw's last three postseason starts, he allowed three total runs on eight hits in the first six innings, so 18 innings total, with 28 strikeouts and three walks.

In the seventh inning of those games, Kershaw has combined to record four outs, allowing 11 runs on nine hits and three walks, with two strikeouts.

Strikeout buddies

Kershaw and deGrom battled back and forth all night, each mowing down the other side in a nail-biter of a game. Kershaw struck out 11, and deGrom struck out 13.

It was just the second postseason game ever with two starters each striking out double digits, and the first since Game 5 of the 1944 World Series. But this game was the only postseason game ever with each starter getting at least 11 strikeouts.

The only blemish was a 2-0 fastball that Daniel Murphy hit into the visitor's bullpen in right field in the fourth inning. Murphy had one of the four hits allowed by Kershaw on the night, with all four coming from the three left-handed batters in the Mets' lineup, with Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda collecting the others.

The Dodgers got their long fly ball deep into the night in right field in the sixth, when Gonzalez took advantage of a curveball over the plate from deGrom. Only this one was a few feet foul, just a long strike.

Five pitches later, Gonzalez struck out for the third time in three at-bats against deGrom.

For deGrom, he matched Tom Seaver (1973 NLCS) for most strikeouts in a postseason game in Mets franchise history, and set a record for most strikeouts in a postseason game at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw was tied for second.

Kershaw had the 12th Dodgers postseason game with 10 or more strikeouts, and third of his career matching Sandy Koufax for most in franchise history.

But Kershaw also suffered his fifth consecutive postseason loss, and the Dodgers are down 1-0 in the series.

"I got outpitched. That's basically the moral of the story. Jacob pitched an amazing game," Kershaw said.

Game 1 particulars

Home run: Daniel Murphy (1)

WP - Jacob deGrom (1-0): 7 IP, 5 hits, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts

LP - Clayton Kershaw (0-1): 6⅔ IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks, 11 strikeouts

Sv - Jeurys Familia (1): 4 up, 4 down