The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ offense made the most out of a shaky first inning by Diamondbacks’ starter Taijuan Walker on Friday evening, and eventually held off the Arizona bats en route to a 9-5 victory and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five NLDS.
Center fielder Chris Taylor looped a single to left-center field to start the bottom of the first inning, followed by a walk from Corey Seager. Hitting in his normal three-hole, Justin Turner then launched a 424-foot bomb into the bleachers in left-center for an early 3-0 advantage. Rookie sensation Cody Bellinger followed with a single, and quickly scored on a Yasiel Puig double to increase the Los Angeles lead to 4-0. The Dodgers rally would fizzle, however, when Curtis Granderson and Yasmani Grandal struck out consecutively, and ultimately died when Clayton Keshaw was punched out after Logan Forsythe was walked intentionally.
Walker was replaced by righty Zack Godley after only one inning of work.
Arizona outfielder A.J. Pollock hit a line shot into the stands in left-center field in the top of the third frame to narrow the gap to 4-1, but the Dodgers would tack on three additional runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, highlighted by singles from Forsythe, Seager and Turner.
Kershaw looked relatively sharp in the early stages of the game, despite a laborious 22-pitch first inning. CK appeared to be on cruise control until the top of the sixth inning, when J.D. Martinez roped a home run down the left field line. The Martinez bomb could have been much worse, if it weren’t for a much-needed double-play induced by Kershaw just a few pitches earlier.
In the top of the seventh frame, the Diamondbacks struck again when Ketel Marte and Jeff Mathis hit back-to-back solo shots off of Kershaw to narrow the Dodgers’ lead to 7-4. Kersh was chased out of the game after 100 pitches, having completed 6-1/3 innings and surrendering four earned runs on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.
The Dodgers would later tack on two welcoming insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, when pinch-hitter Austin Barnes scored on a triple from Seager. It was Seager’s first triple of the entirety of 2017. Seager later scored on a RBI single by Turner to extend the lead to 9-4 heading into the final frame.
After surrendering a two-out run to Marte, closer Kenley Jansen survived the ninth inning to seal the victory for Los Angeles. Kershaw was credited with his first victory of the 2017 postseason.
Turner and Puig were the big boppers for the Dodgers on offense, as Turner ended his evening 3-for-4, including the early long ball, with five RBI, while Puig went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and two RBI. On the flip side, Grandal and Granderson went a combined 0-for-8.
(Follow Dennis on Twitter: @thinkbluepc)