ARLINGTON, Texas. — Clayton Kershaw turned back the clock in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday in order to move forward toward the only accomplishment his historic career is missing.
Kershaw pitched six strong innings while Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts powered the offense as the Los Angeles Dodgers opened the World Series with an 8-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday at Arlington, Texas.
Kershaw (1-0) pushed aside his rocky playoff history to give up one run on two hits over six innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. He retired 13 consecutive Rays batters until Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo homer in the fifth.
Kershaw now has 201 career postseason strikeouts, moving past John Smoltz (199) and into second place all-time behind leader Justin Verlander (205). He is 12-12 lifetime with a 4.22 ERA in 36 playoff appearances, including 29 starts.
Now in his 10th postseason, one thing the Dallas-area native still does not have is a championship. The Dodgers are three victories away, and the first title could come near his hometown.
“It’s awesome to get this series going with a win— that’s the biggest thing to get going with a win,” Kershaw said on MLB Network. “It’s always important to get that first game of a series and just for me personally it’s awesome. To pitch well and get a win in the World Series, I’m just thankful for another opportunity.”
Two days after his go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, Bellinger gave the Dodgers an early Fall Classic advantage with a two-run shot in the fourth inning off Rays starter Tyler Glasnow (0-1). Betts hit his first postseason home run for the Dodgers in the sixth to open a 7-1 advantage.
The Dodgers’ two home runs in Game 1 of the World Series came after they hit 16 in seven games of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.
“I think when (Bellinger) hit the homer, it made (Glasnow) seem human,” Betts said. “He was pumping his fastball at 100 (mph), breaking the ball and throwing changeups. He had it really going, but Belli really started it off and then after that we were able to put together some good at-bats.”
In his first World Series start, Glasnow struggled with his control, giving up six runs on three hits and six walks in 4 1/3 innings. Three of those walks came around to score, including two in the Dodgers’ four-run fifth inning. The Rays right-hander fanned eight.