The narrative for the NLCS before the game was the Brewers pitching matchups against the Dodgers‘ ability to use their bench. However, it ultimately boiled down to errors on the side of the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw failing to go deep into a playoff game again.
After a leadoff single to Lorenzo Cain, who then advanced to second on a passed ball by Yasmani Grandal, Kershaw battled through a 10-pitch strikeout to Yelich, and retired the next two batters on grounders to short.
Manny Machado led off the bottom of the second with a home run, a laser to left center field that just cleared the wall. It was his second this season off a curveball, and his hardest hit ever, 116 MPH off the bat.
Starter Gio Gonzalez lasted all of two innings, allowing the homer to Machado and a walk to Kiké Hernandez. RHP Brandon Woodruff replaced him in the top of the third. He retired the side, and then promptly hit a 407 foot homer in the bottom of the third off Kershaw to tie the game at one.
Grandal had a horrid night behind the plate. Cain followed with a single, and Kershaw walked Yelich. A second passed ball allowed the runners to move to second and third, and a catcher’s interference negated an amazing catch by David Freese for what would’ve been the second out of the inning. Kershaw then induced a sac fly by Hernan Perez, and Grandal missed the throw from center allowing the runners to advance. Kershaw struck out Mike Moustakis to end the inning.
Woodruff countered by striking out the side, including Roberts’ first countermove of the evening, replacing Freese with Max Muncy.
After a leadoff walk and a misplayed ball in left field by Chris Taylor, the Brewers had runners at second and third with no outs, and 73 pitches though 3.0 innings. Kershaw allowed a two run single to Domingo Santana, and Kershaw’s night was done.
Ryan Madson entered the game with a runner on first. He induced a fly out to Cain, and struck out Yelich. After a stolen base by Santana, Madson allowed a single to Braun scoring Santana, and taking the score to 5-1.
Josh Hader, reliever extraordinaire, came in the top of the fifth, and promptly retired the side on nine pitches. He pitched three scoreless innings, presumably leaving him out of the bullpen mix for Game 2.
Julio Urías, added to the bullpen in place of Scott Alexander, who is presumed to be injured, surrendered an opposite field home run to Jesús Aguilar.
The Dodgers showed signs of life in the top of the eighth, plating three runs on a two run single by Machado and an RBI single by Matt Kemp, bringing the score to 6-4.
The Dodgers somehow managed to hold Yelich 0-for-4 for the game, the only slot in the lineup that didn’t have a hit. Cain, for his part, reached all four times.
The Dodgers rallied in the ninth, getting one more run across the plate, but ultimately fell short. But good things were to be gained from this game. They got to the bullpen, and Hader should not be available in Game 2. If the Dodgers play clean baseball defensively, they may have won this game.