Gabriel Moreno’s three-run homer highlighted a six-run first inning for Arizona, and the Diamondbacks battered Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on the way to an 11-2 victory in Game 1 of their NL Division Series on Saturday night.

Merrill Kelly finally beat the Dodgers for the first time. Making his first career postseason start at age 34, the right-hander came in with an 0-11 record and a 5.49 ERA in 16 starts against LA.

Kelly limited the NL West champions to three hits in 6 1/3 innings, the last one coming leading off the third on Miguel Rojas’ single. He retired 11 in a row during one stretch, struck out five and walked two.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Monday night in LA.

Kershaw staggered through the worst start and shortest of his 16-year career. The three-time Cy Young Award winner got tagged for six runs and recorded just one out in the 100th postseason game at Dodger Stadium.

  • Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, center, reacts as he exits during the first inning in Game 1 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Kershaw walked off the mound with his head down. He sat down in the dugout, removed his cap and buried his face in his hands.

The left-hander dropped to 13-13 with a 4.49 ERA in the postseason, compared to 210-92 with a 2.48 ERA in the regular season.

Kershaw gave up a leadoff double to Ketel Marte after the ball went off the glove of center fielder James Outman. Corbin Carroll followed with a RBI single, making it 1-0.

Tommy Pham singled to left and Christian Walker doubled off the base of the bullpen gate for a 2-0 lead. Pham finished with four hits.

Moreno came up next and belted a three-run shot to left.

Kershaw retired Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on a grounder to shortstop, needing 26 pitches to get the first out of the inning. He became the first first starting pitcher in MLB postseason history to allow five hits and five runs before recording an out, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Kershaw then walked Alek Thomas. That set up Evan Longoria’s RBI double to left-center, extending Arizona’s lead to 6-0 and leaving the crowd of 51,653 in stunned silence.

Rookie Emmet Sheehan replaced Kershaw and the D-backs promptly tacked on three more runs in the second. Carroll homered to right, Gurriel had a RBI double and Longoria had a sacrifice fly.

Thomas added a solo shot in the seventh and Pham went deep in the eighth for an 11-0 lead.

Arizona rapped out 13 hits. The only D-back who didn’t get on base was Geraldo Perdomo, who went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

Kershaw’s early exit made it a bullpen game for the Dodgers, who struggled with starting pitching in the regular season. Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May were lost for the year with right elbow injuries. Walker Buehler was ruled out from making an early return after Tommy John surgery, and Julio Urías was placed on paid administrative leave last month because of domestic violence allegations.

That left Kershaw as the only starter still standing. But the D-backs ensured he didn’t last long.

Miguel Castro walked Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman back-to-back in the eighth and they scored on Will Smith’s triple into the right-field corner — the Dodgers’ first hit since the third inning — to trail 11-2.

Betts, Freeman, J.D. Martinez and Max Muncy were the first four players in Dodgers history with 100-plus RBIs in the same season. But Betts, Freeman and Martinez were the only ones who got on base, all via walks. Muncy was hitless in four at-bats with a strikeout.

Arizona is in the postseason for the first time since 2017, when the D-backs were swept by the Dodgers in three games. Peralta and Martinez were part of Arizona’s roster back then.

The 84-win D-backs were coming off a sweep of the favored Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Series. The Dodgers had been idle since finishing off a 100-win regular season in which they earned their 10th NL West title in 11 years.


Betts turned 31 on Saturday, while Arizona’s Evan Longoria turned 38. It was the fifth time in postseason history that each team had a player compete on his birthday. The other times were 2016, 2011, 1991 and 1920.


Right-hander Zac Gallen will start Game 2 for the D-backs on Monday against rookie right-hander Bobby Miller of the Dodgers. Gallen, a 17-game winner, gave up two runs and five hits over six innings against Milwaukee in the NL Wild Card Series. Miller won three of his final five regular-season outings.