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Clayton Kershaw opened Game 1 of the National League Division Series like he did several of his starts this season — with a strikeout. Then, Kershaw experienced something he wasn’t all that familiar with as he gave up a solo home run to Randal Grichuk on an 0-2 pitch.
Kershaw retired the next two batters he faced, but the Los Angeles Dodgers found themselves staring down the barrel of an early deficit with St. Louis Cardinals’ ace Adam Wainwright on the mound.
Yasiel Puig hit a one-out single in the bottom of the first and Matt Kemp’s flare single gave the Dodgers runners on first and third with two outs. After starting the at-bat with a pitch up and in on Hanley Ramirez, Wainwright got the Dodger shortstop to line out to end the inning.
The Dodgers threatened again in the second inning behind consecutive singles by Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis. Kershaw moved both runners into scoring position with a sac-bunt, but they were stranded as Dee Gordon struck out on a 10-pitch at-bat.
Kershaw retired the side in order for a second consecutive inning in the third, and the tension between the two teams rose to the forefront as both benches cleared in the bottom half of the inning.
It started with Wainwright hitting Puig on his left shoulder and while the outfielder took his base, Adrian Gonzalez and Yadier Molina began exchanging words. The two were eventually separated and Gonzalez grounded out, but it did move Puig into scoring position.