EditorsNote: Adds quotes, adds “in the seventh” in the final graf
Walker Buehler gave up one hit over six scoreless innings and Max Muncy drove in three runs as the Los Angeles Dodgers earned a 6-0 victory over the visiting Washington Nationals on Thursday in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
Gavin Lux and Joc Pederson added home runs in the eighth inning as the Dodgers opened their bid for a third consecutive World Series appearance. Lux’s homer came in his first career playoff at-bat.
Muncy was a factor in each of the first four Dodgers runs. He walked with the bases loaded in the first inning, hit a ground ball through the legs of Nationals first baseman Howie Kendrick in the fifth inning to bring home a run and had a two-run single in the seventh.
Washington starter Patrick Corbin (0-1) gave up two runs on just three hits over six innings, but allowed five walks with nine strikeouts. Four of Corbin’s walks came in the opening inning to give the Dodgers the early lead.
“We didn’t play very well today,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “We walked a lot of guys and chased a lot of bad pitches. At one point we were way over 20 pitches that we chased and that is very uncharacteristic of our team. Usually we don’t chase and make guys throw it in the zone. When you walk guys and aren’t hitting, it’s tough to win ballgames.”
Buehler (1-0) gave up a single to Juan Soto to lead off the second inning and little else as he took over the Game 1 role from staff ace Clayton Kershaw, who will pitch in Game 2 on Friday. Buehler gave up three walks with eight strikeouts in his fifth career playoff start. It was his first career playoff victory.
“Walker, time and time again, just knows how to temper his emotions and transfer that into delivery, execution of pitches,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Today, from that first throw, he was on point tonight. The delivery, the tempo was all consistent. ... That’s a really good lineup over there and for him to go six (innings), we needed that. “
Adam Kolarek, Kenta Maeda and Joe Kelly finished off the shutout for the Dodgers, who led the NL with a 3.78 ERA from their bullpen during the regular season. The Nationals had just two hits.
A.J. Pollock led off the first inning with a walk for the Dodgers before Corbin recorded a pair of strikeouts. Consecutive walks to Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor and Muncy got Corbin’s first career playoff start off to a rocky beginning.
The left-hander settled down until giving up a two-out walk to Bellinger in the fifth. After an infield single from Taylor, Muncy’s hard grounder went through Kendrick’s legs for a run, with Taylor thrown out at home by right fielder Adam Eaton on the play.
Two more walks in the seventh helped set up Muncy’s two-run single, matching his high for RBIs in a playoff game, also achieved in Game 1 of last year’s NLDS against the Atlanta Braves.
—Field Level Media