For the second straight year, the Dodgers had to endure the sight of their opponent celebrating a World Series clincher on their home turf. The Red Sox hit three home runs against Clayton Kershaw Sunday, riding David Price to a 5-1 win for their fourth title in the last 15 seasons.
The Dodgers’ championship drought now stands at 30 years, and counting.
When Kershaw gave up a two-run homer to Steve Pearce on his sixth pitch of the game, the overwhelming feeling of impending doom got a little bit louder. The Dodgers couldn’t afford to get behind, but they did.
David Freese would get one back when he immediately answered with a homer of his own on Price’s first pitch in the home half of the first. It was the second home run for Freese from the leadoff spot this postseason.
But that would be all for the Dodgers against the lefty all night. Price locked in to allow just two hits and a walk the rest of the way, shutting the Dodgers down for seven innings.
“You’ve got to give credit to David Price over there,” Dodger manager Dave Roberts said. “He pitched a heck of a ballgame. Couldn’t put hits together, couldn’t get baserunners, and really stress them at all. It was pretty straightforward.”
Meanwhile, Boston eventually broke the game open against Kershaw and the bullpen, launching three more solo homers to lengthen the deficit.
Before Game 5, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez had been held without a home run in the series after clubbing a combined 75 during the regular season. Big bats such as those can only be held down for so long.
Betts sent one into the left field pavilion in the sixth to give his team a 3-1 lead. Kershaw had allowed just one hit in between Pearce and Betts, allowing only a single to the 15 batters in between. The writing was on the wall by the time Martinez punished a ball out to dead center to go up 4-1 in the seventh.
For good measure, Pearce would add another solo shot in the eighth — his third this World Series and fourth overall in the postseason. Pearce became the first with a multi-homer performance in a clinching game since Kirk Gibson for the Tigers in 1984.
The task of digging themselves out of a 5-1 hole was insurmountable for a Dodgers team that struggled all series long to come up with a big hit. One that wasn’t swallowed up by bullpen woes anyway.
Sunday was Kershaw’s fourth elimination game with four or more earned runs allowed. That gives him the most of any pitcher in Major League Baseball history. The lefty has now surrendered 25 runs (24 earned) in 35 2⁄3 innings in six starts when his team must win or go home. The Dodgers have lost four of those six games.
“Ran up against a very good ballclub,” said Roberts. “Just a little bit too much for us.”
“I can’t say enough about what Clayton -- what our guys did. And unfortunately we came up short again this year.”
The Dodgers will now head into the offseason with several questions looming. One of the biggest is whether Kershaw will opt out of the remaining two years on his contract to become a free agent. There is an above zero percent chance that Kershaw has thrown his last pitch in a Dodger uniform.
Home Runs: Pearce 2 (3), Betts (1), Martinez (1), Freese (1),
WP: David Price (2-0): 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
LP: Clayton Kershaw (0-2): 7 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 5 strikeouts