LOS ANGELES — Justin Turner homered and drove in five runs to counter the Diamondbacks’ power display as the Dodgers won Game 1 of their National League Division Series, 9-5 on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers offense was enough to offset the four home runs Arizona hit off Clayton Kershaw, tying an MLB record for home runs allowed by a single pitcher in a postseason game. The previous eight pitchers to give up four long balls all their team lose.
Kershaw got the win on Friday, just as he did on June 19 this year against the Mets, the only other time he has allowed four home runs in a start. Kershaw allowed a career-high 23 home runs during the regular season, seven more than any other year.
It helped that all four home runs were solo shots, including back-to-back shots by Ketel Marte and Jeff Mathis that ended Kershaw’s night with one out in the seventh inning. That followed a home run by J.D. Martinez in the sixth.
Since the start of 2013, Kershaw in his 13 postseason starts has a 2.53 ERA in the first five innings, and a 12.32 from the sixth inning on.
First things first
The Dodgers outscored their opponents 92-81 in the first inning in 2017, their third-worst inning — in the seventh and eighth innings, they outscored other teams by 10 runs each. From Aug. 29-31 at Chase Field in Phoenix, the Diamondbacks outscored the Dodgers 10-0 in the first inning in a three-game sweep, one of two sweeps by Arizona in a nine-day span.
“We were playing our worst baseball of the season at that point,” Turner said Thursday.
After Chris Taylor singled to open the game, Corey Seager walked to set the stage for Turner, who hit the Dodgers’ first three-run home run in the postseason since Howie Kendrick in Game 3 of the 2015 NLDS.
Turner added RBI singles in the fifth and eighth innings. He was 3-for-4 with a walk on the night, and in his career is 19-for-40 (.475) in Division Series play, the highest batting average of anyone with at least 40 plate appearances in this round.
Turner’s five RBI tied a Dodgers franchise record for a postseason game, matching Davey Loeps in Game 1 of the 1978 World Series and Pedro Guerrero in Game 6 of the 1981 World Series.
Taijuan Walker allowed four runs and threw a whopping 48 pitches in the first inning, his only inning of the night. That included 38 pitches before he recorded his first out of the night.
He delivered the shortest postseason start against the Dodgers — by outs recorded — since Ron Darling in Game 7 of the 1988 NLCS. Darling actually pitched into the second inning in that game, but all five batters he faced in that frame scored.
The last starting pitcher in the postseason to never see the second inning against the Dodgers was Whitey Ford in Game 4 of the 1953 World Series.
Yasiel Puig delivered an RBI double in that four-run first inning, then added a leadoff triple in the seventh inning. Puig’s insurance run was stranded 90 feet away with the Dodgers up three runs at the time, but at the very least it did produce this lasting moment:
Puig is the fifth Dodger ever with a double and a triple in a postseason game, joining Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, Mike Marshall and Mariano Duncan.
Seager added a triple in the eighth inning, giving the Dodgers two triples in a postseason game for the sixth time ever.
Game 1 particulars
Home runs: Justin Turner (1); A.J. Pollock (1), J.D. Martinez (1), Ketel Marte (1), Jeff Mathis (1)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (1-0): 6⅓ IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Taijuan Walker (0-1): 1 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts