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Bregman continues to rake against aces

Third baseman steps up again, takes Kershaw deep
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

LOS ANGELES -- Nothing seems to rattle Astros third baseman Alex Bregman. Not making his big league debut a year after he was drafted, not a prolonged slump at the start of his big league career and not facing some of the toughest pitchers in baseball in the playoffs.

Bregman, who belted a pair of homers off Red Sox lefty Chris Sale in the American League Division Series, took Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw deep in the fourth inning of Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. His third career playoff homer accounted for Houston's only run in a 3-1 loss.

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LOS ANGELES -- Nothing seems to rattle Astros third baseman Alex Bregman. Not making his big league debut a year after he was drafted, not a prolonged slump at the start of his big league career and not facing some of the toughest pitchers in baseball in the playoffs.

Bregman, who belted a pair of homers off Red Sox lefty Chris Sale in the American League Division Series, took Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw deep in the fourth inning of Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. His third career playoff homer accounted for Houston's only run in a 3-1 loss.

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"I'm glad we got a taste of the first World Series," the 23-year-old said. "Let's go win the game tomorrow."

Bregman is the fourth player in Astros history to hit a home run in the World Series, joining Mike Lamb, Jason Lane and Morgan Ensberg -- all of whom homered in the 2005 World Series against the White Sox. Bregman flied out to left against Kershaw before turning on a 1-1 fastball in the fourth and sending it into the left-field seats.

"He's a great pitcher," Bregman said of Kershaw. "He's going to be in the Hall of Fame, and he pitched really well tonight. He pitched really well. He made some good pitches, made some good marginal pitches that went his way. That's all right. We'll show up ready to go tomorrow."

Bregman became the first AL hitter to homer in the World Series at age 23 or younger since the Indians' Manny Ramirez in 1995 and the first third baseman to do so at such a tender age since the Pirates' Richie Hebner in 1971.

"I think this team is a really good hitting team," Kershaw said. "They hit a lot of homers and don't strike out. There's little room for error. So it's important for me to establish pitches, be able to throw multiple things for strikes, and thankful I was able to do that tonight.

"I made a few mistakes, obviously Bregman got me, then I threw one down the middle to [Carlos] Correa that he popped up; that could've gone a long way, too. So for the most part, though, I'll take it."

While three-time batting champion Jose Altuve and All-Stars Correa and George Springer are considered the heart of Houston's dangerous lineup, Bregman doesn't take a back seat. In his first full season in the big leagues, he hit .284 with 19 homers and 71 RBIs, clubbing 39 doubles while stealing 17 bases. No moment seems too big for him.

Video: WS2017 Gm1: Bregman on his homer, facing Kershaw

"Yeah, one of the best things about this team is that different people step up on any given night," Bregman said. "We have been trying to do that all year long, whether if a pitcher has a bad start, the offense picks him up, or if two guys in the offense don't have a good day, the rest of the offense picks them up."

Having success against left-handers isn't new for Bregman, who had a .974 OPS against southpaws in the regular season as opposed to .776 against right-handers. He ranked ninth in the AL in batting average and OPS against lefties. Still, Sale and Kershaw are two of the most elite lefties in baseball, and Bregman said Kershaw's command was top-notch despite the homer.

"If you get a veteran guy that's getting marginal pitches, you know you're in for a tough night and a battle," Bregman said. "He took complete advantage of getting those marginal pitches and he pitched where he needed to pitch. He pitched down in the zone and he kept us off-balance."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros, Alex Bregman