Chopped: Clayton Kershaw Axes the Braves in NLDS Game One


Dodgers 6 11 0

Braves 1 5 0

WP- Kershaw (1-0)

LP- Medlen (0-1)

HR- Gonzalez (1)

Clayton Kershaw absolutely dominated the Atlanta Braves in game one the NLDS. Although Kershaw was “struggling” a bit in the first few innings especially with his curveball, by the fifth inning Kershaw was in the zone and he Public Enemy #1 a.k.a Clayton’s Curve came out to play. Kershaw struck out a dozen Atlanta hitters, and Kenley Jansen struck out another three in the bottom of the ninth. Brian Wilson also pitched a scoreless inning in the eighth.

Kris Medlen gets knocked around by the Dodgers in game one. Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Kris Medlen came out strong in the first inning and struck out the side, but the right-hander fell victim to the Dodger offense thereafter and only made it through four innings while allowing nine hits to the Blue. The Dodger offense finally gave Kershaw some run support, and Adrian Gonzalez‘s gorgeous two-run homerun in the third inning really showcased the Dodgers talents. The empty seats of Turner Field were quite apparent as the Dodgers dominated in game one.

This game could not have gone any better for the Dodgers. Here’s how Clayton’s masterpiece went down…

The home crowd in Atlanta is already doing the annoying Tomahawk Chop with their foam axes in the top of the first inning at Turner Field. Kris Medlen’s first pitch to lead-off hitter Carl Crawford is a ball off the plate. Medlen gets Crawford to chase a changeup, and he goes down on strikes for the first out. Mark Ellis chases a high fastball, and the Dodger second baseman also goes down on strikes. Hanley Ramirez comes up to the plate for his first career postseason at-bat. Medlen goes 3-2 on Hanley then pulls the string. The Braves right-hander strikes out the side on 14 pitches.  Not a good start for the Dodgers.

Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for what could be the most important game of his

Adrian Gonzalez hits a two-run homerun in the third inning. Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

career thus far. Jason Heyward is leading off the home half of the first, and he’s wearing a face protector on his helmet. Kershaw is attacking the plate, and Heyward strikes out swinging. Justin Upton makes Kersh work, but after ten pitches he hits a comebacker to Kersh for the second out. Kershaw strikes out Freddie Freeman, and the southpaw sends the Braves down in order on 19 pitches.

Adrian Gonzalez flies out to Heyward in center field for the first out in the top of the second. Yasiel Puig singles up the middle for the first hit of the evening. Juan Uribe comes up clutch, and the experienced third baseman singles to center field. Puig advances to third. Skip Schumaker hits a sacrifice fly which easily allows Puig to score the first run of the game. A.J. Ellis comes up big as well, and he doubles to left field past a diving Evan Gattis! Uribe comes home, and the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead. Clayton Kershaw grounds out to Freddie Freeman to end the inning, but the Dodger bats quiet the axe-wielding Atlanta fans!

Evan Gattis leads off the bottom of the second with a bloop single which drops between three Dodgers in shallow left field. That’s Atlanta’s first hit of the night off Kershaw. Brian McCann flies out to Puig in right field for the first out. Chris Johnson flies out to Puig in right, and Puig cannons the ball back in to Gonzalez who doubles up Gattis at first! Thank you for the TOOTBLAN, Gattis!

Carl Crawford leads off the third inning with a single to second base where Johnson bumbles the ball. Mark Ellis pops out. Hanley grounds out to first, and Crawford take second. Then Adrian Gonzalez proceeds to wallop a two-run homerun to straightaway center! That beautiful homerun gives the Dodgers a 4-0 lead! Puig singles thereafter, but Uribe flies out to end the frame.

Clayton Kershaw’s 12 strikeouts is a Dodger record for the NLDS. Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Andrelton Simmons draws a lead-off walk in the bottom of the third. With Johnson at the plate, a wild pitch by Kersh allows Simmons to move over to second. Johnson ends up grounding out to third. Simmons has to hold at second. After going 3-0 to Kris Medlen, Kersh rears back to strike out the opposing pitcher! Heyward grounds out to second to end the inning, and the Braves strand Simmons at second.

In the top of the fourth, A.J. Ellis strokes his second double of the game with one out. This time the double is to right field. Clayton Kershaw is called out on strikes. Carl Crawford draws a two-out walk. That’s the first walk given up by Medlen. Mark Ellis hits a line drive single up the middle, and A.J. Ellis is able to score for the Dodgers fifth run of the game! MEllis takes second, and Crawford goes to third as the Braves try to throw A.J. out at home. Hanley pops out, but the Dodgers add another run to the board. For the third straight inning the Dodgers score against Medlen.

Freeman singles to right with one out in the fourth. That’s Atlanta’s second hit off Kershaw. Kersh walks Gattis, and the Braves fans start the Tomahawk Chop with two on and one out. Brian McCann hits the ball hard to left field, but Crawford makes a nice catch against the wall. That was close to going out. The Braves get a run in as Johnson singles in Freeman, and its 5-1 Dodgers. After going 3-2 to Simmons, Kersh strikes him out swinging on a dirty slider to end the inning! Kershaw is a warrior.

Adrian Gonzalez opens the fifth inning with a single, his second hit of the night. Puig is

Dodgers go up 1-0 in the 2013 NLDS vs. Atlanta. Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

plunked in the back with a pitch by Medlen, and that’s going to be all for Kris Medlen. Luis Ayala will relieve Kris Medlen. Don Mattingly calls for his first bunt of the postseason, and Uribe lays down a successful bunt to advance the runners to second and third. The Braves will intentionally walk Skip Schumaker for some reason. This will load up the bases for A.J. who has already had two hits tonight. I guess it worked for the Braves, because A.J. whiffs on a breaking ball on the outside corner. Ayala strikes out Kershaw, and the Dodgers leave the bases loaded.

Kris Medlen pitched 4 innings and allowed 5 runs on 9 hits with 4 strikeouts and a walk on 74 pitches.

We move to the bottom of the fifth, and Kershaw strikes out Elliot Johnson to open things up. Upton also is a strikeout victim thanks to a pretty rainbow curve by Kersh. Heyward also strikes out, and Kershaw strikes out the side!

Jordan Walden will come out of the Atlanta bullpen for the sixth inning. Carl Crawford quickly grounds out. Mark Ellis singles to left field, and that’s MEllis’s second hit of the night. Hanley Ramirez doubles to the gap in right center, and Mark Ellis easily scores from first! Dodgers now lead 6-1. Gonzo grounds out to first, and Hanley moves to third. Yasiel Puig strikes out, but the Dodgers tack on another run.

In the bottom of the sixth, Kershaw strikes out Upton and Freeman for his sixth

Is Brian McCann going to cry? Photo: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

consecutive strikeout. Hanley makes a very nice play at short to retire Gattis for the third out. That’s another 1-2-3 inning for Kershaw.

Alex Wood will pitch the top of the seventh for Atlanta. Uribe flies out to right. Schumaker hits a ball right at Simmons for the second out. A.J. Ellis grounds out, and the Dodgers go down in order for the first time since the first inning.

Kershaw walks McCann to start off the bottom of the seventh. Kersh then gets back in the zone and strikes out Chris Johnson, Simmons, and Elliot Johnson! That’s 12 strikeouts for Kershaw. He’s incredible. Kersh pitched 7 innings and only allowed 1 run on 3 hits with 12 whiffs and 3 walks on 124 pitches.

David Carpenter comes out of the Braves bullpen for the top of the eighth. Andre Ethier will pinch-hit for Kershaw, and he grounds out to first. Crawford strikes out against Carpenter. Mark Ellis flies out to right, and the Dodgers go down quickly in order.

Brian Wilson will relieve Kershaw in the bottom of the eighth. The Beard retires pinch-hitter Reed Johnson on a grounder to second for the first out. Heyward manages a one-out single. Upton grounds out to short. Heyward moves to second on the play. Freeman ends the inning with a slow roller to second.

Luis Avilan is in for the ninth inning for the Braves. Hanley Ramirez goes after the first pitch he sees, but Gattis is able to run it down for the first out. Gonzo also flies out. Puig strikes out swinging, and we head to the bottom of the ninth.

Kenley Jansen will come in to shut the door on the Braves in the bottom of the ninth. Kenley walks the lead-off hitter Gattis. Brian McCann is called out on strikes for the first out. Chris Johnson strikes out swinging as well. Simmons hits a little blooping single to left center field, and Gattis moves to third. Kenley strikes out Elliot Johnson for the final out and the Dodgers win! What a glorious victory!

Game two will be on TBS at 3:00 p.m. PT on Friday. Zack Greinke will counter Mike Minor.