LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers opened the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile on Friday night like the best team in baseball, grinding out a 9-5 win over the D-backs in Game 1 of the best-of-five series at Dodger Stadium behind Justin Turner's five RBIs and despite four solo
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers opened the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile on Friday night like the best team in baseball, grinding out a 9-5 win over the D-backs in Game 1 of the best-of-five series at Dodger Stadium behind Justin Turner's five RBIs and despite four solo home runs allowed by Clayton Kershaw.
Turner tied Pedro Guerrero (1981) and Davey Lopes (1978) for the single-game postseason club record for RBIs. Yasiel Puig and Corey Seager had two RBIs each.
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"He's the glue to this club," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of Turner. "He's such a baseball player, making big-time moments, and that was a huge lift for us."
The first five Dodgers batters reached base off D-backs starter Taijuan Walker, with Turner crushing a three-run homer projected by Statcast™ at 424 feet. Turner has 17 RBIs in 19 career postseason games. Walker was removed after a 48-pitch, four-run first inning.
"You couldn't ask for a better start to the game," said Kershaw.
Walker started instead of 15-game winner Robbie Ray, who was 3-0 against the Dodgers this season but was unavailable after pitching in relief in Arizona's Wild Card Game win over Colorado on Wednesday night.
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"It definitely wasn't the start I wanted for my first postseason start," Walker said. "I thought I battled and they battled. They had some really good at-bats. They just won the battle today."
Kershaw had six strikeouts before the first D-backs hit, A.J. Pollock's two-out homer in the third. J.D. Martinez homered in the sixth, then Ketel Marte and Jeff Mathis went back-to-back into the left-field seats on consecutive pitches in the seventh to chase Kershaw, who also allowed four homers to the Mets on June 19.
He became the first Dodger and ninth pitcher in big league history to allow four home runs in a postseason game, and the first against an NL team.
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"No excuses. I gave up too many home runs tonight," Kershaw said.
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But Kershaw lacked command on both of his breaking pitches, so he relied on the fastball, which was overpowering the first two innings but dropped in velocity after that. He is 5-7 in the postseason but this was his first postseason win at home.
The D-backs were one of only two teams that had a winning record over the Dodgers at 11-8, including six consecutive wins against the division champs in the last five weeks of the regular season.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Turning it on: With runners on first and second in the first inning, Turner fell behind in the count, 0-2, but battled back to 2-2. He then took Walker deep to give Kershaw a 3-0 lead that Puig would extend to 4-0 with an RBI double before the first inning ended. Turner is 23-for-60 (.383) in his postseason career.
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"I got to two strikes and I just tried to battle and stay in the zone," said Turner. "He threw a fastball in and I put a pretty good swing on it. It felt great to give Kersh a three-run cushion in the first and let him go out and do his thing."
Puigyourfriend: In last year's NLDS, Puig was a bench player who started only one of five games. In Game 1 he was the No. 5 hitter and it paid off in the first inning, as his RBI double scored Cody Bellinger from first base with a tack-on run and a 4-0 lead. Puig added a second RBI with a bases-loaded groundout in the three-run fourth inning off Zack Godley, who pitched five innings of relief, and he tripled leading off the seventh but was stranded.
• Puig puts best tongue forward
"That's what Yasiel does," Roberts said of Puig's tongue-wagging antics at third base. "He's called the Wild Horse for a reason. Sometimes you shake your head, sometimes you smile, but he's a heck of a talent and he helped win a baseball game tonight."
"He might lick me." -- Turner, on why he sat two seats away from Puig in the postgame interview room
D-backs:Robbie Ray gets the start in Game 2 on Saturday at 6 p.m. MST. Ray threw 2 1/3 innings of relief in Wednesday's Wild Card Game. He has been tough on the Dodgers this year going 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA in five starts against them. In his last two starts against the Dodgers he struck out a combined 24 while walking two.
Dodgers:Rich Hill starts Game 2 on Saturday at 6 p.m. PT. Hill went 0-3 with a 5.03 ERA against Arizona this year and is 1-5 with a 4.78 ERA in his career. The Dodgers moved him ahead of Yu Darvish in the series rotation because Hill was 7-5 with a 2.77 ERA at home this year. He was 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in two starts of the NLDS last year and 1-0 without allowing a run in six innings in the NLCS.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.