• 72°

MLB: Ozuna homers twice, Braves beat Kershaw for 3-1 lead

Marcell Ozuna

By SCHUYLER DIXON

AP Sports Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas — Clayton Kershaw can’t shake his postseason curse, not even in a neutral-site NL Championship Series a few miles from his hometown.

The longtime ace of the Dodgers faltered at the start of the sixth inning against Atlanta, allowing three straight hits before watching the rest of a six-run outburst in the Braves’ 10-2 win in Game 4 on Thursday night.

Kershaw’s franchise-high 12th postseason loss put Los Angeles down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series at the home of the Texas Rangers, on the brink of a second straight defeat in the NLCS after posting the best record in the majors during the pandemic-shortened season.

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner — pitching two days after he was scratched from a Game 2 start because of back spasms — allowed four runs in five-plus innings, boosting his career playoff ERA to 4.31.

While Kershaw is also the club’s career leader in postseason wins with his 11-12 record, his October resume simply doesn’t match his stellar regular-season numbers: 175-76 with a 2.43 ERA.

In LA’s seven trips to the NLCS over Kershaw’s 13 seasons, the Dallas native is 3-6 with a 4.84 ERA. And now he’s been outpitched by a rookie making his postseason debut: Atlanta’s 22-year-old Game 4 winner, Bryse Wilson.

Kershaw was handed a 1-0 lead on Edwin Ríos’ homer in the third, but gave it up on Marcell Ozuna’s solo shot in the fourth, the first of two for Ozuna.

In the sixth, Ronald Acuña Jr.’s high chopper eluded the glove of a leaping Kershaw behind the mound for an infield single. Freddie Freeman and Ozuna followed with consecutive RBI doubles, and Kershaw was done in Los Angeles’ third loss in four games since winning its first five in the playoffs.

Kershaw had never pitched near his Dallas home before doing so twice in a week and a half in this unusual postseason, first without fans in an NL Division Series sweep of San Diego and then a pandemic-reduced crowd in the NLCS.

The eight-time All-Star recorded his 11th postseason win in the Dodgers’ 6-5 victory in Game 2 of the NLDS, but he was far from dominant. Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer hit back-to-back homers to cut into a 4-1 deficit.

If the Hall of Fame is in his future, Kershaw won’t be alone among star pitchers who struggled in the playoffs.

Greg Maddux was 11-14 in the playoffs, most of those decisions when Atlanta won just one World Series during a run of 14 straight NL East titles. Randy Johnson was 7-9, and fellow lefty Steve Carlton just 6-6.

Another lefty, David Price, was 2-9 before winning his final three decisions for Boston when the Red Sox won the World Series two years ago.

Each of those has at least one title, though. Kershaw still doesn’t have one despite the club record in playoff starts (28) and innings (177 1/3).

Kershaw now has 11 career postseason starts of allowing at least four runs, tied with Maddux for the second-most. Only Andy Pettitte, another lefty, has more.
Ozuna’s first homer in Game 4 was the 27th Kershaw has allowed in the playoffs, breaking a tie with Justin Verlander for second-most, also behind Pettitte (31).

Comments

Coronavirus

People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools brings Skills Rowan competition back to its roots

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time

News

GOP leaders differ on bottom line for state spending

News

Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in Winston-Salem

Crime

Man charged after thieves rob would-be gun buyers of wallets, shoes

Crime

Blotter: Four added to sheriff’s most wanted list

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide