"He was in complete control".
Still, Ryu has posted a better ERA (2.81) in his three career postseason games than Kershaw (4.35) in his 24 playoff games.
One more victory would put Los Angeles in the NLCS for the third straight year. That would essentially be it for the Dodgers' offense, as they only mustered up five hits all game long.
Kershaw ran out to the mound as though he was going to pitch the ninth, bringing cheers from the sellout crowd of 54,452.
At the dais, Kershaw asked his daughter, Cali, if he should have pitched the ninth inning.
In Game 2 of the 2016 NLCS, he threw seven scoreless innings against the eventual World Series champs, allowing only two hits.
Yasmani Grandal homered on an 0-2 pitch from Sanchez leading off the fifth to make it 3-0.
Acuna doubled to deep left-centre on Kershaw's first pitch.
Kershaw (9-5, 2.73 ERA), who said he accepts the Dodgers' pitching decision, downplayed the concept that he will have extra incentive this postseason because he was not named the Game 1 starter. In fact, I already noticed the backlash against "playoff Kershaw" when Braves wunderkind Acuna led off with a double.
Kershaw was sharp on defense, too.
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Kershaw often has started on short rest in recent postseasons, but the Dodgers don't plan on that this time.
Ryu threw a season-high 104 pitches in this one.
"I've had struggles in the past against (left-handed hitters)", said Foltynewicz, after lefty hitters Pederson and Muncy did damage against him.
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Ryu allowed a two-out single to Freddie Freeman in the first. "So to have the noise around him, but when it comes to his day to start and to help his club win a game, I had no concern that anything was going to affect him".
"If it does and he has to pitch, then we'll adjust and regroup from there", Snitker said. "They weren't acting like this was anything but a regular-season game, and that definitely resonated with me".
Anibal Sanchez, who will start for the Braves, didn't seem that fazed about the matchup. He came over from Baltimore before the July 31 trade deadline in a six-player deal and was 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 10 starts for Atlanta. Buehler ended up as one of the Dodgers best starters and in the last month of the season, he pitched gem after gem against playoff contenders.
In Game 1 of the 2013 NLDS, he struck out 12 in seven innings while allowing just one run on three hits.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the first inning after Pederson's home run, but Foltynewicz struck out Yasiel Puig to end the threat.
The Dodger says, "Hey, that was a nice catch, man" and you could nearly hear the breath leave Donovan's body momentarily.