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MLB Roundup 10/21: Mookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw give Dodgers early World Series lead

It was not a very close contest.

2020 World Series Game 1: Los Angeles Dodgers v. Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Dodgers take Game One

We headed into Tuesday with potentially only four more games left on the schedule before the offseason really gets underway. The Dodgers and the Rays were both looking for first blood in this World Series, with both teams coming off long series. Despite that, they both got one of their top pitchers on the mound to start this series, with Clayton Kershaw going for L.A. while Tyler Glasnow got the start for the Rays.

One of those guys obviously has a bit of a reputation for wilting under the pressure of postseason spotlights, but Kershaw was able to shake that at least for one night. The lefty and future Hall of Famer was phenomenal in this one. He did get into some trouble very early on which was some cause for concern, though. The Rays had two men reach in that first inning with a leadoff single and a one-out walk, but Kershaw worked his way out of that jam. That was the boost he needed. He cruised from there, allowing just one run — a Kevin Kiermaier homer in the fourth — over six fantastic innings.

On the other side, Glasnow had it going on early. The big righty is a power strikeout arm, and he showed off that skillset in the first few innings with the Dodgers possessing little in the way of answers. He tossed three scoreless innings to start things off, striking out five Dodgers in the process.

In the fourth, the tide turned in a big way. Glasnow started to see his command crumble and the Dodgers were ready to take advantage. They got a leadoff walk, and then a couple batters later it was Cody Bellinger with the first big swing of the series. The 2019 NL MVP smoked one out to center field for a two-run shot, and it was L.A. on the board first. Kiermaier’s home run brought Tampa to within one in the fifth, but that was as close as they’d get.

Starting in the bottom of the fifth, the Dodgers began to run away with it. It was Mookie Betts who almost single-handedly got one more on the board for L.A. He drew a walk to lead off the inning, then quickly stole second. After another walk, he was the lead runner on a successful double steal before coming home to score on a ground ball with the infield in. Not many other runners, if any, score on that play, but as we know all too well he is perhaps the best baserunner in all of baseball. Thanks to his legs, the Dodgers upped their lead to two.

They didn’t take their foot off the gas from there, either. They got two more in that fifth inning thanks to RBIs from Will Smith, Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernández, and then really poured it on in the sixth when Betts led things off with a solo shot and they added another on a Max Muncy double. At that point, it was an 8-1 score, and that was pretty much that. Tampa did manage to get a couple runs off the Dodgers bullpen, but they never really got back in the game.

Ultimately, it was an 8-3 final score in favor of the Dodgers, who now need three more wins to get finally get their championship. Game Two will be on Wednesday night with Tony Gonsolin getting the ball for L.A. while Tampa counters with Blake Snell. First pitch is at 8:09 PM ET.

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