deGrom, Kershaw set K record in Mets' win
LOS ANGELES -- The roar from the Mets' postgame clubhouse was audible through a concrete wall, seeming to threaten Dodger Stadium's very foundation. The Mets had just upended the Dodgers, 3-1, in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday, behind seven shutout innings from Jacob deGrom and key hits by David Wright and Daniel Murphy. In doing so, they had beaten Clayton Kershaw and grabbed home-field advantage back from their hosts -- proving that they are not, as a reporter suggested to general manager Sandy Alderson last month, simply "happy to be here."
"This is a good start for a team that hasn't been in the postseason for a long time," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We needed a confidence boost and Jake gave it to us."
Noah Syndergaard will square off tonight against Zack Greinke in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium, scheduled for 9 ET/6 PT on TBS. The winner of Game 1 has gone on to win the NLDS 34 of 40 times.
By outpitching Kershaw, whose October struggles continued in the loss, deGrom delivered the Mets their first postseason win since 2006. Only Wright, who capped the victory with a two-run single off Pedro Baez in the seventh inning, was on both that Mets team and this one. Murphy, who opened the scoring off Kershaw with a solo homer in the fourth, arrived two years later.
deGrom matched Tom Seaver's franchise record with 13 strikeouts in a postseason game. He and Kershaw combined for the second-most ever in a playoff game while also becoming the first pitchers to record at least 11 strikeouts in the same game in postseason history. Though two inherited runs made Kershaw's final line look worse than his performance was, deGrom ensured that the NL's reigning MVP would fall to 1-6 in nine career postseason starts.
"I got outpitched, basically that's the moral of the story," Kershaw said. "Jacob pitched an amazing game. We battled him, got his pitch count up there, but he outpitched me, plain and simple."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Captain clutch: This was what Wright envisioned during his long summer months, rehabbing his spinal stenosis condition at a facility not far from Dodger Stadium. Wright ripped a 3-2 Baez pitch back up the middle with two outs in the seventh, plating two runs to extend the Mets' margin to 3-0. Both runs went on the line of Kershaw, who walked the bases loaded before giving way to Baez. More >
"That's just who he is," Collins said of Wright. "I have no other way to describe it. He's a big-time player and when you need him, he seems to get the big hit."
Lost in left: Michael Cuddyer gave the Dodgers two early scoring opportunities, but they went wasted. He misplayed Justin Turner's leadoff liner in the second inning into a double off his glove and took a bad route on Corey Seager's two-out, opposite-field fly in the third inning that dropped just inside the foul line for a ground-rule double. deGrom struck out the side in the second and fanned Gonzalez to end the third.
"You've got an ace on the mound making tough pitches," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. "You can't take anything for granted just because you catch a break. We got guys out there and deGrom was phenomenal."
Cracking Kershaw: Coming into the game with 12 homers off left-handed pitchers in his seven-year big league career, Murphy crushed a 2-0 Kershaw fastball into the visiting bullpen to lead off the fourth. The Mets totaled four hits in 6 2/3 innings against the National League's reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner, all of them from lefty batters. More >
"My first at-bat he chewed me up and spit me out," Murphy said. "The next at-bat I was able to get my foot down just a little earlier. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes and I felt really fortunate to put a good swing on the ball he threw me."
Rookies under pressure: The Dodgers started rookies Joc Pederson in center field and Seager at shortstop. Pederson went 0-for-2 with an intentional walk and strikeout, Seager had a misplayed double, two strikeouts and a popup batting third in the lineup. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With 13 strikeouts, deGrom matched the franchise postseason record that Seaver set in Game 1 of the 1973 NL Championship Series. DeGrom's record-tying whiff came on his 121st and final pitch of the night (one shy of his career high), an 86-mph changeup to pinch-hitter Chase Utley to end the seventh. He and Kershaw combined for 24 strikeouts, one shy of Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown in 1998 NLDS Game 1.
"If you love a pitchers' duel, that's about as good as it gets," Wright said. "You've got Jacob deGrom, who came in maybe as a little bit of an unknown, going up against the great Clayton Kershaw, and he matched him pitch for pitch."
Mets: Syndergaard will make his postseason debut in Game 2, a 9 p.m. ET affair on TBS. The Mets chose to slot Syndergaard second in their playoff rotation in part to limit Matt Harvey's innings, but also because of what he has done in his first big league season. The hardest-throwing member of the NL's hardest-throwing rotation, Syndergaard struck out 21 batters with one walk over his final two regular-season starts, a span of 14 2/3 innings.
Dodgers: All Greinke did in his final regular-season tuneup was limit the Padres to one run on four hits in eight innings. He won 14 of his last 15 decisions with a seven-inning no-decision in his only start against the Mets in New York after the birth of his first baby. The game begins at 6 p.m. PT.