LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw crashed out of Game 1 of the NL Division Series, getting tagged for six runs and recording just one out against the Arizona Diamondbacks in an 11-2 loss Saturday night.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner had never made a start in which he had pitched less than one inning. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts had expected Kershaw to throw about 85 pitches.
Instead, he was gone after 35. He was replaced by rookie Emmet Sheehan.
Five batters up and five runs scored without an out in the first.
Kershaw, 35, had two strikes on five of his eight batters while allowing the most runs in any first inning in the franchise’s postseason history. It was the shortest outing as a starter in his 16-year career, all spent with the Dodgers.
He’s had a checkered career in the postseason, coming in with a playoff record of 13-12 with a 4.25 ERA. He is eligible for free agency after this season.
Kershaw missed six weeks with a shoulder injury that neither he nor the Dodgers have said much about. The team carefully managed his outings, which did not go beyond 5 1/3 innings in eight starts since coming off the injured list on Aug. 10.
But Kershaw had a 2.22 ERA over his final five outings in the regular season, so few could have predicted what happened in the NLDS opener — a brief performance that left the Dodger Stadium crowd in stunned silence.
Kershaw gave up a leadoff double to Ketel Marte after the ball went off the glove of center fielder James Outman. Corbin Carroll followed with a RBI single, making it 1-0.
Tommy Pham singled to left and Christian Walker doubled off the base of the bullpen gate for a 2-0 lead.
Gabriel Moreno came up next and belted a three-run shot to left.
Kershaw retired Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on a grounder to shortstop, needing 26 pitches to get the first out of the inning. He became the first first starting pitcher in MLB postseason history to allow five hits and five runs before recording an out, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Kershaw then walked Alek Thomas. That set up Evan Longoria’s RBI double to left-center, extending Arizona’s lead to 6-0.
Roberts came striding out of the dugout and took the ball from Kershaw, who walked off with his head down. He removed his cap, sat down and hung his head.
Sheehan got two quick outs to end the inning, striking out Geraldo Perdomo and retiring Marte on a groundout.
Despite being injured, Kershaw recorded his 200th career victory April 18 against the New York Mets, becoming just the third pitcher in franchise history to accomplish the feat.
He got his 10th All-Star selection, tying Pee Wee Reese for the most by a Dodgers player. On Sept. 10, he notched his 210th career win, overtaking Don Drysdale for second-most in franchise history. He finished the regular season with a 13-5 mark and 2.46 ERA. He had 137 strikeouts in 131 2/3 innings, his most since 2019.
Injuries limited Kershaw’s outings in 2019, 2020 and 2021. He won his first World Series title during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
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