NEW YORK -- Clayton Kershaw won’t have to answer any more questions about his postseason demons for a while.
Kershaw chased those away Tuesday night, shutting down the New York Mets for seven innings in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 3-1 win Tuesday that forced a winner-take-all Game 5 of the National League Division Series. It will be played Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.
Working on short rest, Kershaw finally got through the seventh inning, his bugaboo in recent Octobers. In fact, he overcame some bad luck to do it, pitching around Yoenis Cespedes' leadoff infield hit. Kershaw allowed just three hits and one run, a Daniel Murphy home run, while striking out eight over seven innings. He picked up his first postseason win since Oct. 3, 2013, snapping a five-start losing streak.
Things got dicey for the Dodgers in the eighth after a couple of two-out walks, but closer Kenley Jansen got Murphy to pop up to end the threat.
Thumbs up: Two Novembers ago, the New York Mets let Justin Turner walk, non-tendering him to avoid paying him what he would have earned through arbitration. The Dodgers signed him to a minor league deal and, two Octobers later, Turner did his best to knock the Mets out of the postseason. He continued to batter baseballs, hitting a two-run double in the third inning. That was his fourth double of the series, setting a new Dodgers postseason record. Overall, Turner is 7-for-15 in this series. He also made a nice stop on a hard-hit Wilmer Flores ground ball in the seventh.
Thumbs down: What has become of Yasiel Puig? Once one of the most electric players in the game, he looks like a shadow of his former self, perhaps because injuries have diminished him or he is still playing hurt. Puig was fortunate to make the roster and probably wouldn’t have if Scott Van Slyke hadn’t come down with a wrist injury. Against the left-hander, Steven Matz, Puig got his first start of the series, but he is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts thus far. Even in batting practice, the ball hasn’t been coming off his bat well. If the Dodgers advance to the next round, they might not carry Puig.
What’s next: The Dodgers were delighted to fly home having forced a Game 5 rather than having to think about another playoff failure. Thursday’s game will feature an intriguing pitching matchup: Zack Greinke, quite possibly this year’s Cy Young winner, against Jacob deGrom, the hard-throwing 2014 Rookie of the Year who struck out 13 Dodgers to win Game 1.