It's only one game, but Clayton Kershaw bucked his trend of poor showings in the World Series to help the Los Angeles Dodgers earn a valuable 8-3 opening win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Kershaw pitched six strong innings, giving up one run on two hits. He struck out eight and walked one.
And the Dodgers' bats exploded late in his outing.
Cody Bellinger smacked a two-run homer in the fifth, and Los Angeles pushed six across in the sixth. Victor Gonzalez's impressive double play—more on that shortly—allowed the Dodgers to squash Tampa's hopeful rally in the seventh.
Los Angeles will turn to rookie Tony Gonsolin in Game 2, while the Rays give the ball to veteran Blake Snell.
2020 World Series Game 2 Info
When: Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 8:08 p.m. ET
Live stream: Fox Sports Go
Game 2 Preview
Tampa is hoping for a more efficient performance from its starter on Wednesday.
In Game 1, Tyler Glasnow walked six, allowed three hits and surrendered six runs in a 112-pitch outing that covered only 4.1 innings. This season, Snell has consistently given the Rays five innings but ceded a couple of runs.
So, either way, the lineup must be better.
Kevin Kiermaier hit a homer and an RBI single, and Mike Brosseau drove in the other run. Were it not for Gonzalez's double play, the narrative may feel a little different. But this incredible snag played a key role in Tampa managing seven baserunners.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, matched that total in walks alone.
Three of those free passes scored, including Max Muncy on Bellinger's homer and both Mookie Betts and Corey Seager in the Dodgers' decisive six-run fifth inning.
"We didn't do ourselves any favors with the walks," Rays manager Kevin Cash said, per Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press. "I'd like to see us get back to our strength [Wednesday], and that's attacking and getting early strikes and being able to put guys away."
Los Angeles will counter with Gonsolin, who posted a 2.31 ERA in 46.2 regular-season innings but struggled with the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series. Atlanta scored seven runs in Gonsolin's 6.1 innings of work.
Granted, the rookie isn't expected to have a long start.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said it will be a bullpen game "using various arms," according to Stephen Hawkins of the Associated Press. Roberts noted Julio Urias and Dustin May are available—though Urias is ideally a possible Game 4 starter.
"To keep that optionality just makes sense, and to have Julio be in with us and understanding how we value him, certainly it's helpful," Roberts said, per Hawkins.
Top relievers Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol are likely to pitch Wednesday, and Kenley Jansen will be a rested option.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR