LOS ANGELES -- The Nationals pushed across one run off Clayton Kershaw in the first inning of an eventual 6-5 loss to the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday, and in the process they made the three-time Cy Young Award winner work hard enough to alter his outlook for the rest of the game.
Starting on three days' rest, Kershaw threw 27 pitches in the first, allowing his lone run on a Daniel Murphy RBI single that gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead. After Trea Turner hit Kershaw's first-pitch fastball into left field to open the inning, Bryce Harper walked to cap a nine-pitch plate appearance.
Kershaw then struck out Jayson Werth on an overhand curveball before Murphy sent home the game's first run on a ground-ball single through the right side of the infield.
Of the 27 pitches Kershaw threw in the inning, seven of them were foul balls and only two were swinging strikes. But Kershaw's stuff did seem to possess its usual bite, including a fastball that sat 94-95 mph. The left-hander escaped the first inning by generating shallow fly balls from Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman.
Before the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he started Kershaw on short rest in part because he wanted to keep his bullpen as rested as possible for a potential Game 5. That said, Roberts called it an "all-hands-on-deck" game for the Dodgers, who evened the series at 2.
Anthony DiComo has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.