ATLANTA — Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 during seven dominant innings, Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and the Dodgers beat the bumbling Braves 6-1 in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Thursday night.
The Dodgers took a 5-0 lead by the fourth against Kris Medlen, taking advantage of shoddy Atlanta defense even though the Braves were generously not charged with an error.
In the second, rookie leftfielder Evan Gattis flopped to the ground in an attempt to catch a sinking liner, looking very much like the converted catcher he is. The ball hit by A.J. Ellis rolled to the wall for an RBI double, putting the Dodgers ahead 2-0 on a play that an outfielder with even modest experience probably would have made fairly easily.
Also, on a play involving two former Rays, second baseman Elliot Johnson bobbled Carl Crawford's grounder leading off the third.
And centerfielder Jason Heyward twice overthrew the cutoff man on throws to the plate, allowing runners to advance.
Kershaw limited Atlanta to Chris Johnson's run-scoring single with two outs in the fourth. The Dodgers ace allowed three hits and finished by striking out the side in the seventh to match his season high for strikeouts.
"He's the best pitcher in baseball," Gonzalez said, "and he showed it."
Note: Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson wasn't happy to be asked about how players celebrated in the pool at Chase Field on the day they beat the Diamondbacks and won the West. "Really?" Johnson said. "Really? Do you really want me to stand here to really talk about the pool celebration in Arizona? Really? That's your best question to Magic Johnson?" Yes, Johnson was told. "Man, I've seen worse things happen," Johnson said. "That wasn't nothing. Guys have jumped on tables, they've done a lot of things in the NBA on other people's courts. To me, I've seen it all. We apologized, but I'm happy for my players. I will always support them. We apologized, and we moved on."