Clayton Kershaw finally got the postseason monkey off his back and the Los Angeles Dodgers avoided elimination with a 3-1 victory over the New York Mets in Game 4 of the NLDS at Citi Field on Tuesday night.
Kershaw threw seven innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits with eight strikeouts. Moreover, the reigning NL MVP won just his second postseason game and first since 2013.
Kershaw got the party started with a one-out single, the first hit for the Dodgers on the night. Two batters later, Adrian Gonzalez hit a bloop single to centerfield that scored Kiké Hernandez.
Former New York Met, Justin Turner, did the bulk of the damage with a two-run double down the left field line. Yoenis Cespedes was unable to come up with the ball cleanly, and kicked it towards the infield, allowing Gonzalez to score from third.
Kershaw had not allowed a hit through the first three innings, but was touched up by second baseman Daniel Murphy for the second consecutive postseason start.
Murphy crushed a solo homer over the wall in right field to put the Mets on the board. It was Murphy's second home run of the NLDS, both off of Kershaw. Astonishingly, Murphy had not hit a homer off of a lefty pitcher all season, but now has two off the reigning MVP in the postseason.
But that would be the only run the Mets would score in the game. Matz left the game for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth, allowing three runs on six hits in five innings in his first career playoff start.
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Mets' manager Terry Collins used misdirection when he had Jacob DeGrom warming up in the bullpen after taking Matz out of the game. Instead of DeGrom who everyone assumed would start Game 5 if necessary, Collins instead inserted 42-year-old Bartolo Colon into the game in the sixth.
Kershaw gave way to Chris Hatcher in the bottom of the eighth, but he issued a free pass to Curtis Granderson with two outs and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly went to closer Kenley Jansen to get a four-out save.
The Dodgers escaped New York with a split and head back to Los Angeles for the winner-take-all Game 5 and will have Cy Young Candidate Zack Greinke on the mound against 2014 Rookie of the Year Jacob DeGrom.
A.J. Ellis hit a single in the fourth inning, his 12th consecutive postseason game with a hit, a new Dodgers franchise record.
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