Braves return home needing win vs LA to extend NLDS

After stellar postseason start, Dodgers' Ryu Hyun-jin says rehab was worth it

South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin on Thursday pitched seven stellar innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers blasted three home runs to rout the Atlanta Braves 6-0 in the opening game of their National League playoff series.

The Dodgers used a almost identical formula to win 6-0 in Game 1 behind Hyun-Jin Ryu, who allowed only four two-out singles over seven innings, and home runs by Joc Pederson, Max Muncy and Enrique Hernandez.

Machado jumped on a 3-0 cutter from Braves starter Anibal Sanchez to put the Dodgers out in front. Regardless, one heck of a game from Kershaw. Kershaw might not be as overpowering as he once was, but he still finished the season with a 2.73 ERA.

After Ronald Acuña scorched the night's first pitch to the leftfield wall for a double, Kershaw allowed just one more hit, a weak infield single by Ender Inciarte, while retiring 24 Braves and keeping Atlanta off the scoreboard the rest of the way. He was 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA against the Dodgers. Rich Hill as well has not set the league on fire but has been a reliable starter throughout the year.

On Friday he finally did, smacking a first-inning Aníbal Sánchez meatball on 3-0 over the leftfield fence. He became the first Braves runner to reach third base in the series when Johan Camargo grounded out to Kershaw. The national anthem will be sung by Mia Sinclair Jenness, a voice on the Disney Junior animated series "Fancy Nancy".

The Braves have lost eight straight series openers in the postseason. "And it was good for him to experience this", Snitker said. "He was in control". "He was doing what he wanted to do".

"It was good to see, and we needed that one".

After stellar postseason start, Dodgers' Ryu Hyun-jin says rehab was worth it

"We looked at it and we were kind of (telling) the guys that (Kershaw) was getting ahead with the fastball and we had them be on the attack for it", Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Due to the hot-take world in which we reside here in the social media era, every Clayton Kershaw postseason start seems like a referendum on his legacy.

"I don't really feel like there's anyone on this team that's going up there trying to hit a home run", said Max Muncy, who had a three-run homer in the second inning.

Statistics indicate pitchers are less effective the third time they face the opposing lineup.

No matter how well Kershaw pitches, the question that will always come up with him will center around his postseason performance. They struck out 10 times. That would leave Kevin Gausman and Julio Teheran as the likely starters.

Machado rebounded from an 0-for-4, three-strikeout performance in Game 1 to give the Dodgers an early 2-0 lead with a first-inning home run.

"We've still got chances, " Culberson said. (His four scoreless innings in relief in Game 7 of last year's World Series have probably been forgotten by now, but... they happened.) His dominance tonight has to make Dodger fans giddy. Walker Buehler went 6.2 innings, striking out three, walking three and allowing just one measly hit in the deciding game for the NL West. Muncy added to the lead in the fifth inning with a 2-run home run which all but sealed the game for them. But Manny Machado came up to bat and crushed a two-run shot into left to take the lead.

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