NEW YORK -- Desperately needing a win to stave off elimination, Clayton Kershaw thrust his postseason troubles aside with a brilliant performance Tuesday in National League Division Series Game 4, firing seven innings of three-hit ball in a 3-1 Dodgers win over the Mets.
The victory forced a winner-take-all Game 5 on Thursday at Dodger Stadium (8 p.m. ET, TBS).
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"I don't think anyone was going to outpitch Clayton Kershaw tonight," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "I wish we could have won here, obviously so that we could prepare for the next round and do it in front of our fans. But Kershaw was just a beast tonight. It was going to be tough to beat him when he was on like he was. Hopefully we can take care of business in L.A."
Pitching on three days' rest, Kershaw battled early before settling into one of the better postseason grooves of his career in the middle innings. After Daniel Murphy homered with one out in the fourth, Kershaw did not let another runner past first base. He struck out six of seven batters during one stretch, snapping his five-game postseason losing streak.
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"You know, I'm actually really happy for him," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "I mean, this kid is tremendous. Everything that you're supposed to be, he is, and I think to see him be able to do that tonight on short rest is a really good feeling for, I know myself, but I think a lot of those guys in that clubhouse feel the same way. This guy's an animal, the way he works, represents us, the game of baseball, himself. I mean, he's really a credit to the game, and so you're really happy for him to be able to do that tonight."
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After Adrian Gonzalez got the Dodgers on the board with an RBI single, former Met Justin Turner padded Kershaw's lead with a two-run double in the third inning off Mets rookie starter Steven Matz. Turner aided his effort with a fine play to rob Wilmer Flores of a hit in the seventh. The brightest spot in Los Angeles' lineup all series, Turner is 7-for-15 in the NLDS.
"I'm just glad we won," Turner said. "That stuff's all in the past. Has no effect on me. I'm a Dodger. Happy to be a Dodger and glad to take the series back to L.A. for Game 5."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rally raccoon MIA: Though the Mets didn't have many chances to score off Kershaw, Citi Field came to life when Yoenis Cespedes reached on a swinging bunt to lead off the seventh -- an inning that has historically given Kershaw fits in October. But the NL's reigning MVP induced a popup, a flyout and a ground ball to third base, where Turner made a nifty stop to earn a fist pump from his pitcher. It wound up being Kershaw's final pitch of the night.
"What he did tonight a lot better than what he did out in LA was throwing all his pitches for strikes and really throwing each pitch where he wanted to," Wright said. "In L.A., you could almost go up there and forget about the curveball because he was having a hard time commanding it. Tonight, he was commanding all three, and was flat-out unhittable."
Gutty red-turn: Turner wasn't healthy enough to take batting practice with his teammates before the game, but he was ready when the bell rang against his former club and doubled home two runs in the Dodgers' three-run third inning. That gave Turner four doubles in the series, a franchise postseason record.
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"It's still on my leg, so I will be good to go on Thursday," Turner said when asked how his knee felt.
Four-out save: Having pitched only once in the past 10 days, Kenley Jansen came on after Chris Hatcher walked Curtis Granderson with two outs in the eighth inning. Jansen walked Wright, but got Murphy to fly to right and end the eighth.
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"Well, we were willing to go six outs each with Hatch and Kenley right there," Mattingly said. "We would have went Hatch 6, 7 and Kenley 7, 8. Hatch came in and got two big outs for us. When we get to David, we think that's a spot for Kenley to come in there and obviously Kenley finishes it up in the ninth."
Matz battles: Starting for the first time since Sept. 24, and making just the seventh big league appearance of his career, Matz recovered after Turner's double to give the Mets five innings of three-run ball. He ended his night with a strikeout of Corey Seager, stranding two men on base to give the Mets life in a two-run game.
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"I think he's got the respect and the confidence of every man in that room and every person in the organization, because we see behind the scenes and how badly this guy wants to be great, and what he does and what it takes for him to be great." -- Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, on Kershaw
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Dodgers:Zack Greinke, Game 2 winner, gets the ball with the season on the line. Greinke allowed solo home runs to Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto, then was the beneficiary of the four-run rally involving Chase Utley's infamous slide into Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.
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Mets: Now facing a winner-take-all elimination game, the Mets will spend one last night in their beds before flying to Los Angeles early Wednesday afternoon. They will then send Game 1 winner Jacob deGrom to the mound for Game 5 on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. Brilliant in Game 1, deGrom delivered seven shutout innings with a franchise postseason record-tying 13 strikeouts.