Clayton Kershaw was brilliant, and the Dodgers got just enough offense to get out of Wrigley Field with a split, beating the Cubs 1-0 in Game 2 of the 2016 National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
The win snapped a nine-game road losing streak in the NLCS for the Dodgers, the longest such streak in MLB.
Before the game, manager Dave Roberts was asked about Kershaw, who on one hand pitched his third game in six days but also pitched his fewest innings of his career after missing 10 weeks with a herniated disc in his back.
“There's a lot of bullets left in that arm this season,” Roberts said.
Those bullets were firing from the start, with Kershaw efficiently setting the Cubs down in order time after time. Kershaw didn’t allow a runner to reach base until allowing a pair of two-out singles in the fifth inning.
Per Elias: Kershaw tied Jerry Reuss (Gm 2, '81 NLDS) & Koufax (Gm1, '63 WS) for longest no-hit bid by LAD pitcher in postseason (4.2 inn.)— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) October 17, 2016
Kershaw allowed a four-pitch leadoff walk to Anthony Rizzo to start the seventh inning, then Yasmani Grandal dropped a sure out on a foul pop fly, pushing various seventh inning narratives to the surface. But Kershaw was able to power through, even lasting through a mound visit from Roberts that didn’t result in his removal from the game.
The final out was a rocket by Javier Baez that somehow found it’s way to Joc Pederson’s glove to end the frame, keeping the game at 1-0.
Finally, a 7th inning playoff Kershaw-Baez exchange that works for the Dodgers— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) October 17, 2016
It also produced a wonderfully maniacal laugh from Roberts as Kershaw returned to the first base dugout.
Kershaw pitched the 21st Dodgers postseason game of at least seven innings and no runs allowed.
The Dodgers were up 1-0 thanks to a second-inning home run by Adrian Gonzalez, the only run scored against Kyle Hendricks on the night. It was the second home run this postseason for Gonzalez, and his seventh in the postseason as a Dodger, in 26 games.
The only Dodgers with more postseason home runs than Gonzalez are Duke Snider (11) and Steve Garvey (10).
Kershaw gave way to Kenley Jansen, who retired all six batters he faced for the longest save of his career, yet his shortest outing of the last four days.
NLCS Game 2 particulars
Home run: Adrian Gonzalez (2)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (2-0): 7 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP - Kyle Hendricks (0-1): 5⅓ IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (3): 2 IP, 4 strikeouts