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D-backs ambush Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers to take Game 1 of NLDS

LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Diamondbacks made a statement Saturday, using a six-run first inning against Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw to pave the way for an 11-2 road victory in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

Gabriel Moreno hit a three-run home run in the first, while Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas and Tommy Pham all went deep later in the game as the Diamondbacks got off to a dream start in an effort to advance to the NL Championship Series for the first time since 2007. Pham had four hits.

“The togetherness we’re playing with, there are no selfish at-bats,” said Carroll, who has two home runs in his first three playoff games. “I think it’s just a collective mindset of everyone in the same space and it’s paying off in a cool way so far.”

Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly (1-0), who does not have a win in 16 regular-season starts against Los Angeles, went 6 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the postseason win. He gave up three hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

Kershaw gave up six runs on six hits with one walk while recording just one out before he was replaced by rookie right-hander Emmet Sheehan after facing eight batters.

Matching the shortest outing of his career, either regular season or playoffs, the future Hall of Famer needed 26 pitches to record his first and only out. His career playoff ERA rose to 4.49 in 39 appearances (32 starts).

“It was disappointing, embarrassing,” Kershaw said. “You feel like you let everybody down, the guys, the whole organization that looks to you to pitch well in Game 1. … It’s a tough way to start the postseason. Obviously, we still have a chance at this thing but that wasn’t the way it should have started from me.”

Kershaw missed more than five weeks of the season because of a shoulder injury and did not pitch more than 5 1/3 innings in eight starts after he returned.

It was an ominous beginning for the Dodgers when Arizona leadoff hitter Ketel Marte hit a line-drive double that hit off rookie center fielder James Outman’s glove. Carroll followed with an RBI single and Pham added another hit before Christian Walker doubled home Carroll for a 2-0 lead.

Moreno followed with his three-run home run more than halfway up the bleachers in left field. After Lourdes Gurriel Jr. grounded out to shortstop, Thomas walked and Evan Longoria hit a run-scoring double to left-center to end Kershaw’s day.

Kershaw became the first starting pitcher in playoff history to give up five runs and five hits before recording an out, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“Yeah, it was a tough one,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who still plans to use Kershaw again if there is a Game 4 of the series. “I think that obviously, they took a lot of good swings. It seemed like they were on everything he threw up there.”

Carroll gave the D-backs a 7-0 lead with a solo home run in a three-run second inning, while Gurriel added an RBI double and Longoria had a sacrifice fly.

Thomas gave Arizona its 10th run with a solo shot in the seventh inning after a 14-pitch at-bat against Dodgers right-hander Michael Grove. Pham hit a homer in the eighth.

“We’re going to try to do this thing together and it’s not going to be one individual guy,” Thomas said. “I mean, you saw that today. … It’s part of our game that not one guy is going to win this. It takes a team effort.”

The D-backs’ shutout bid ended in the eighth on a two-run triple by the Dodgers’ Will Smith.

–By Doug Padilla, Field Level Media

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