Los Angeles

Justin Turner's Home Run Gives Dodgers 3-1 Victory Over Astros in Game 1 of World Series

Turner hit a game-winning two-run home run off Dallas Keuchel and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Houston Astros, 3-1, in Game 1 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.

Three more wins.

In the hunt for Red October, Justin Turner is King.

Turner hit a game-winning two-run home run off Dallas Keuchel and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Houston Astros, 3-1, in Game 1 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.

After each team took turns hitting a solo home run, Turner stepped to the plate with two outs and a runner on first. The rest, will live on in Dodgers' lore for eternity.

Turner connected on an 87MPH elevated cutter from Keuchel for his fourth home run of the postseason, and the Dodgers never looked back, taking Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.

"I didn't know if it was going to be a home run or not," Turner said as he watched the ball fly off his bat. "I knew I back spun it pretty good. I knew I hit it really high, and I knew it was about 98 degrees outside. So when it's that hot there, the ball does travel a lot better."

The 113th edition of the Fall Classic got off to a hot start, and we're not talking about the 103 degree temperatures on the field at gametime. 

Chris Taylor got the Dodgers' postseason party started when he hit a first pitch, leadoff home run of Keuchel to put L.A. in the lead.

"We knew he liked to get ahead of the count early," said Taylor of his mindset before stepping into the box against Keuchel. "He does a really good job of picking at the corners, and throws a lot of chase pitcehrs. I just wanted to go up there and be aggressive, and try to jump on that first-pitch strike."

The leadoff home run was the first ever in Dodgers' postseason history, and just the fourth leadoff home run in World Series history as Taylor joined Don Buford, Dustin Pedroia, and Alcides Escobar as the only other players to hit a leadoff homer in the World Series. The 447-foot mammoth home run was also Taylor's longest home run of the season.

"He's one of the elite players in the game now," said Kershaw of Taylor following the victory. "You stack him up with other centerfielders in the game. Springer in Houston, all these guys, he's pretty close to up there. It's a testament to him and his work ethic. He's such a great guy. He works so hard and his swing and I'm thankful he's at the top of our lineup."

Alex Bregman tied the game in the top of the fourth inning when he crushed a 93MPH four-seam fastball from Kershaw into the left field pavilion.

"They had two big swings, we had one," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch after the loss. "They had a walk right before one of their big swings and it was 3-1, we get to Game 2. It's no more complicated than that."

The last time Bregman took the field at Dodger Stadium was back in March during the Gold Medal game of the World Baseball Classic in which Team USA defeated Puerto Rico, 8-0, to win their first ever WBC Championship.

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Early on in the game, it was a battle of aces as Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel were entrenched in a good old fashioned pitcher's duel.

"Keuchel was really good tonight," added Hinch. "He was just a pitch or two less than Kershaw. He wasn't as fancy with the punch-outs, but take nothing away from those guys, it was a well-pitched game on both sides."

The two Cy Young Award winners took turns allowing one run each until Turner stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth.

Keuchel (0-1), allowed three runs on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts in 6 and 2/3 innings.

In his first World Series start, Kershaw (1-0) was magnificent, allowing just one run, on three hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts in seven dominant innings.

"I felt good," Kershaw said of his start. "It was hot tonight, so warming up, it didn't take time to get loose. I tried to get that first inning under my belt and fortunately I got out of that. Then, CT hitting that home run, the first pitch of the game, it kind of settled us all in a little bit. It was definitely as good a start as we could have hoped for." 

The double-digit strikeouts recorded, was the fifth time in Kershaw's postseason career he's recorded 10 or more strikeouts.

Kershaw beame the second pitcher ever to record 11 strikeouts without a walk in a World Series game, joining fellow Dodger great Don Newcombe in Game 1 of the 1949 World Series.

Kershaw improved to a perfect 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA this postseason in four total starts. He also now holds the Dodgers postseason record for career starts (18), innings pitched (113), and strikeouts (133).

"I don't know if you can decipher between a postseason start and a World Series start, but the adrenaline is more magnified," Kershaw said. "It definitely feels good to say it was the World Series, and it feels good to say we're up 1-0 and now we have to come back tomorrow and do it again."

In Justin Turner's first at-bat of the game, he stepped to the plate with a 34.5-inch bat, an inch longer than he normally uses. He promptly struck out swinging. 

In his second at-bat, with the same size bat, he flied out to left field. Finally, in his third at-bat he went back to his usual 33.5-inch bat for one final shot at Keuchel.

"My first two at-bats I was swinging a bigger bat, and I got beat a couple of times," explained Turner. "So for my third at-bat I said I'm going to switch back to my 33 and a half that I normally use, a little smaller bat. It's a good thing I did, because I didn't get beat a third time."

Turner not only didn't get beat, he beat Houston with one swing, as he broke the tie with his two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth. The two-run bomb gave Turner 26 career postseason RBI, tied with Duke Snider for the most in Dodgers' franchise history.

"One of the best things about being a Dodger and playing in Dodger Stadium is every day when I get to the field, I get to take the elevator down to the first floor and walk through the Dodger museum," Turner said of his name now being mentioned alongside "The Duke." "It's something that I don't take for granted. It's something I feel extremely proud to be able to put on the same uniform as those guys that have their name on the wall, an dit's something that I don't just walk by every way with blinders up. I try to soak it in every chance I get."

Turner has 14 RBI in the 2017 playoffs alone, a new Dodger franchise record for a single postseason.

Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen combined to pitch the eighth and ninth, as the Dodgers' closer recorded his 12th consecutive postseason save, the most ever since saves became an official stat in 1969.

The Dodgers improved to 8-1 in the 2017 postseason with the victory. The winner of Game 1 of the World Series has gone on to win the Fall Classic 63 percent of the time.

This is the second meeting between the Dodgers and the Astros in the postseason with the first meeting occurring in the NLDS in 1981. Nolan Ryan pitched in Game 5, and the Dodgers scored three runs to beat him and later advance to the World Series.

Up Next:

Game 2 of the World Series will feature RHP Justin Verlander in his third different Fall Classic appearance against LHP Rich Hill who will make his first ever World Series start. First Pitch is at 5:09PM PST.

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