Dodgers dominate Braves in Game 1 of NLDS: Quick hits

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

In Game 1, Clayton Kershaw owned the night. (USATSI)
In Game 1, Clayton Kershaw owned the night. (USATSI)

Who has the edge? Pirates-Cardinals | Dodgers-Braves | Tigers-A's | Rays-Red Sox

The Dodgers are up 1-0 in the best-of-5 NLDS against the Braves. On Thursday night, they thumped the Braves in Atlanta by a score of 6-1, thanks in large part to more dominance from Clayton Kershaw. Let's have a closer look ...

Hero: Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers' ace -- the NL Cy Young winner in waiting -- worked seven innings of one-run ball against a tough Atlanta lineup. Over that span, he struck out 12, walked three and gave up just three hits, all singles. Of his 124 pitches, 76 went for strikes. Perhaps most impressive is how he bore down when he got into a tight spot in the fourth. See below for more on that.

Goat: Kris Medlen. A "disaster start" is defined as an outing in which the starting pitcher's earned runs allowed exceed his innings total. During the 2013 regular season, Medlen had suffered only two disaster starts in 31 starts overall. Well, in Game 1 of the NLDS, he endured another. In four innings of work, Medlen allowed five runs on nine hits. You've got to fare much better than that if your team is going to have a shot at beating Kershaw.

Turning point: When Adrian Gonzalez's third-inning drive off a Medlen change-up cleared the fence, the score went from 2-0 to 4-0. As the TBS broadcast noted shortly thereafter, coming into tonight Clayton Kerhsaw, when given at least four runs of support, was 35-0 since 2011. Stake Kershaw -- the best pitcher on the planet these days -- to a 4-zip lead when he's pitching on extra rest, and, well ...

It was over when: The Braves mounted a near-rally in fourth. Freddie Freeman notched a one-out single to right, and Evan Gattis walked. Another out later, Chris Johnson plated Freeman with a single, and Andrelton Simmons stepped up with runners on the corners and two outs. A six-pitch battle ensued, but Kershaw got him to bite on a full-count slider. With that, Atlanta's first real threat wound up good for nothing more than cutting the deficit to four runs. The next inning, Kershaw struck out the side.

Next: The Dodgers and Braves will play at Turner Field again on Friday. Game 2 starts at 6 p.m. ET and pits Zack Greinke against Mike Minor.

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