The Los Angeles Dodgers could not have scripted a better return to the World Series. Behind a dominant outing from Clayton Kershaw, a clutch home run from Justin Turner and a rested bullpen that brought the heat to another level, the Dodgers defeated the Astros 3-1 in their first World Series game since 1988.
With the temperatures reaching a World Series-record 103 degrees at first pitch, both pitchers started hot and only continued warming up as the game went along. Kershaw and Keuchel each allowed just a solo home run over the first five innings, but that was it. There was no separation at all until Turner’s go-ahead home run in the sixth.
All of the game’s scoring came on those home runs. Beyond them, there wasn’t much drama. The Astros mustered only three hits and never got a runner into scoring position. With Kershaw dealing for Los Angeles, Keuchel had little margin for error on Houston’s side. He was challenged by the Dodgers with baserunners in four of the first five innings, but his defense had his back, turning a total of three double plays to get him off the hook.
Like they’ve done in the first two series, the Dodgers will now look to take control of the series in Game 2. The resilient Astros have to like their chance to bounce back though. Not only will they have Justin Verlander on the hill, they won’t have to worry about seeing Kershaw again until at least Game 5 on Sunday.
Before we look too far ahead though, here are five key moments from Game 1.
JUSTIN TURNER LAUNCHES GO-AHEAD HOMER IN SIXTH
Justin Turner is all about that postseason life. The Dodgers third baseman entered the World Series hitting .387/.500/.677 with three homers and 12 RBIs in eight games this postseason. That included a dramatic walk-off homer in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. He added to those remarkable totals on Tuesday, launching a go-ahead two-run home run against Dallas Keuchel.
The home run would prove to be the decisive blow in LA’s series-opening win as a locked in Clayton Kershaw and rested Dodgers bullpen finished the job.
As for Turner, he made some Dodgers history while playing in just his 27th career postseason game.
Justin Turner now has 26 postseason RBIs for the Dodgers, tied for most in franchise history with Duke Snider. #worldseries
— Marcus Vanderberg (@marcowill) October 25, 2017
CLAYTON KERSHAW STRIKES OUT EVERYONE
The Dodgers ace was on his game Wednesday night, striking out 11 over seven innings. He set the tone right away, striking out Astros leadoff man George Springer on four pitches. That would be one of three strikeouts while facing Springer. Kershaw would go on to strike out the side in both the third and fourth innings.
No one strikeout stands out above the other. It was just a classic Kershaw performance that’s elevated to epic given the stage.
That was Clayton Kershaw's 10th strikeout. The last #Dodgers pitcher with 10 or more in a World Series game? Sandy Koufax, Game 7, 1965
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 25, 2017
Chris Taylor starts off the World Series with a bang https://t.co/Rf1LPHsZut
— Kent (@RealKentMurphy) October 25, 2017
CHRIS TAYLOR LEADS OFF GAME 1 WITH HOMER
The Dodgers could not have asked for a better start to Game 1. After Clayton Kershaw set the Astros down 1-2-3 on nine pitches in the first inning, Chris Taylor immediately gave the Dodgers’ ace a run to work with. Taylor took Astros starter Dallas Keuchel way deep to left field — 447 feet to be exact — on the first pitch he saw leading off the first inning. In the process, he became just the fourth player to lead-off a World Series opener with a home run.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 25, 2017
ALEX BREGMAN TIES IT WITH FOURTH-INNING HOMER
Houston’s offense got next to nothing going against Clayton Kershaw over the first three innings, mustering just a single while striking out five times. Alex Bregman gave his team some hope though by leading off the fourth inning with a no-doubt home run to left field. The home run was Bregman’s third of the postseason. The first two came during the ALDS, when he homered in Games 1 and 4 against Chris Sale. Not a bad postseason at all when you can say you slayed the game’s two best lefties.
DODGERS BULLPEN SLAMS THE DOOR SHUT
After Kershaw gave them seven dominant innings, the last thing the Dodgers bullpen wanted to do was give this game away. That was never a concern after setup man Brandon Morrow fired a perfect eighth inning and closer Kenley Jansen slammed the door shut with a perfect ninth. The Dodgers closer has not allowed an earned run in eight postseason innings so far.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: