Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts powered the offense while Clayton Kershaw pitched six strong innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers opened the World Series with an 8-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday at Arlington, Texas.
Two days after his go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the National LeagueChampionship Series, Bellinger gave the Dodgers an early Fall Classic advantage with a two-run shot in the fourth inning. Betts hit his first postseason home run for the Dodgers in the sixth to open a 7-1 advantage.
Kershaw (1-0) pushed aside his rocky playoff history to give up one run on two hits over six innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. He retired 13 consecutive Rays batters until Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo homer in the fifth.
Kershaw now has 201 career postseason strikeouts, moving past John Smoltz (199) and into second place all-time behind leader Justin Verlander (205). He is 12-12 lifetime with a 4.22 ERA in the 36 playoff appearances, including 29 starts.
In his first World Series start, Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow struggled with his control, giving up six runs on three hits and six walks in 4 1/3 innings. Three of those walks came around to score, including two in the Dodgers' four-run fifth inning. Glasnow fanned eight.
The Dodgers stole three bases in the fifth to match a World Series record for a single inning.
Betts led off the fifth with a walk and stole second base before Corey Seager walked. The pair then pulled off a double steal while Justin Turner struck out. Betts scored on a fielder's choice by Max Muncy, and Seager came home on a Will Smith single for a 4-1 lead. Smith's hit knocked Glasnow (0-1) from the game.
Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez added RBI singles in the fifth as the Dodgers took a 6-1 advantage.
The lead swelled to 8-1 in the sixth on Betts' home run to right field and an RBI double from Muncy.
With Kershaw out of the game, the Rays tried to claw back in the seventh inning as Mike Brousseau and Kiermaier delivered RBI singles off Dodgers left-hander Victor Gonzalez. The threat was halted when Gonzalez snagged a line drive from Mike Zunino and turned it into a double play by getting Brousseau off the bag at second.
The Dodgers improved to 3-1 in series openers this postseason, while the Rays in Game 1s. Los Angeles also won the opener of the 2017 World Series 3-1 against the Houston Astros before falling in seven games.
--Field Level Media