Former Great Lakes Loons pitcher Clayton Kershaw starred in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series, brushing aside his reputation as a stellar hurler who is subpar in the postseason.
Kershaw struck out 11 batters while giving up only three hits and one run in seven innings. He didn’t walk anyone, and his only mistake was giving up a solo homer to former Quad Cities River Bandits infielder Alex Bregman.
The last pitcher with 11 or more strikeouts in a World Series Game 1 was the St. Louis Cardinals’ Bob Gibson, who did it in 1968 as he set a World Series record with 17 strikeouts in the game. Besides Kershaw, only Don Newcombe — a former Dodger — has struck out 11 without walking a batter in a World Series game (in the 1949 series opener).
Kershaw was backed offensively by Chris Taylor and Justin Turner, who homered in the 1st and 6th innings, respectively. Both of them played in the Midwest League, too — Taylor for the Clinton LumberKings, and Turner for the Dayton Dragons.
The game was finished in two hours and 28 minutes, making it the fastest World Series contest since Game 4 of the 1992 series. It also was the hottest World Series game on record, with the mercury sitting at 103 degrees Fahrenheit when the first pitch was thrown.
Like the Tuesday night opener, Game 2 will be played at Dodger Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST.
Midwest League statistics for the Game 1 stars:
Kershaw went 7-5 with a 2.77 ERA, 134 strikeouts and 50 walks in 97.1 innings (20 starts) for the 2007 Loons. He was the Midwest League prospect of the year.
Taylor batted .304 with four RBI and four stolen bases in 12 games with the 2012 LumberKings.
Turner batted .311 with 10 HR, 59 RBI and 12 SB in 117 games with the 2007 Dragons.
Bregman batted .259 with 1 HR, 13 RBI and 5 SB in 29 games with the 2015 River Bandits.