LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Clayton Kershaw continued his 2018 postseason pattern of following a brilliant start with a disappointing one in the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series tonight at Boston's Fenway Park.
Kershaw was relieved by Ryan Madson with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, runners on first and second and the score tied, 3-3.
Madson's first pitch was a wild pitch, which advanced Mookie Betts to third and Andrew Benintendi to second. Steve Pearce walked on four pitches to load the bases. J.D. Martinez struck out. Xander Bogaerts grounded into a force, but beat second baseman Brian Dozier's throw to avoid the double play, allowing Betts to score the go-ahead run.
Rafael Devers followed with a single, driving in Benintendi.
Both runs in the fifth were charged to Kershaw.
The Dodgers cut the deficit to 5-4 in the seventh when Manny Machado's sacrifice fly drove in Max Muncy, who singled.
Boston put the game out of reach in the bottom of the seventh when Eduardo Nunez, pinch-hitting for Devers, greeted left-handed reliever Alex Wood with a two-out, three-run homer.
Wood replaced right-hander Pedro Baez, who had struck out two of the three batters he faced and intentionally walked the third.
“Devers is really good against the right-hander, and to get a guy off the bench and Nunez, I really liked Alex in that spot,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Whether they were going to hit Devers with a lead or go to the bench and go with Nunez, I still liked Alex in that spot.”
Kershaw allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings, striking out five and walking three as his career postseason record dropped to 9-9.
“I don't think he had the fastball command that he typically does, missing up in the zone,” Roberts said. “I don't think his slider had the depth that we're used to seeing. And those guys, to their credit, they put some good at-bats on him. And we didn't play the defense that we typically do.
“I thought we left some outs out there and it didn't make Clayton's job any easier.”
The Dodgers were out-hit 11-8, were one-for-seven with runners in scoring position, left seven runners on base and struck out 12 times. The Red Sox were four-for-12 with runners in scoring position, left six runners on base and struck out 12 times.
Boston opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first.
Betts led off with a single and stole second and scored on Benintendi's single, the first of his four hits. Benintendi advanced to second on Yasiel Puig's throw home. Martinez singled one out later, driving in Benintendi.
The Dodgers tied the score on designed hitter Matt Kemp's second- inning home run over Fenway Park's Green Monster and Machado's third-inning single that drove in Justin Turner, who singled.
The Red Sox regained the lead in the bottom of the third when Martinez doubled with two outs, driving in Pearce, who reached on a fielder's choice.
The Dodgers re-tied the score in the fifth. Dozier led off with a walk, Turner, the first batter to face reliever Matt Barnes, singled, moving Dozier to second. Dozier went to third on a wild pitch by Barnes and scored on Machado's ground out.
Barnes, the second of seven Boston pitchers, was credited with the victory, allowing no runs and one hit in one inning, striking out one.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale allowed three runs and five hits in four innings, striking out seven and walking two. Sale was last charged with a loss on June 8.
The winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the Series 70 of 113 times, 61.9 percent, including 12 of the past 15.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played Wednesday, also at Fenway Park.
Roberts called Kershaw's first 2018 postseason start one of his “best outings that I've seen,” as he limited the Atlanta Braves to two hits and one other baserunner over eight innings in a 3-0 victory Oct. 5 that gave the Dodgers a two games to none lead in a National League Division Series.
The next time Kershaw took the mound, he had his shortest postseason start, three innings, allowing five runs, four earned, and six hits in a 6-5 loss to the Brewers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.
Kershaw then rebounded to limit Milwaukee to one run and three hits over seven innings, retiring the final 13 batters he faced in a 5-2 victory in Game 5 Wednesday.
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