Joc Pederson hit a leadoff home run, Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven shutout innings as a surprise Game 1 starter, and the Los Angeles Dodgers opened the National League Division Series with a 6-0 victory Thursday over the visiting Atlanta Braves.
Max Muncy and Enrique Hernandez also homered as the defending National League champion Dodgers won their first postseason game since losing Game 7 of the 2017 World Series to the Houston Astros.
Ryu, who missed 3 1/2 months this season with a left groin strain, was named Game 1 starter over staff ace Clayton Kershaw, who would have been on regular rest after making his regular-season finale on Saturday. Kershaw will start in Game 2 on Friday.
Ryu (1-0) gave up only four hits, all singles, and struck out eight with no walks in his first postseason start since the 2014 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Pederson hit his home run on the third pitch of the bottom of the first inning from Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz. The blast came after a regular season when Pederson had 25 home runs, including eight leadoff homers.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the first inning after Pederson’s home run, but Foltynewicz struck out Yasiel Puig to end the threat.
The Dodgers started a two-out rally in the second inning after Pederson was hit by a pitch. Justin Turner walked in front of Muncy, who lifted a Foltynewicz pitch into the seats in right-center field for a 4-0 lead. Muncy led the Dodgers with 35 home runs in the regular season.
Foltynewicz (0-1) lasted just two innings, giving up four runs on three hits with three walks. Five of his six outs were by strikeout.
Hernandez added a solo shot in the sixth inning as the Dodgers played to their strength. Los Angeles led the National League with a club-record 235 home runs, and it was second in baseball to the New York Yankees’ 267 homers.
David Freese added a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning for the Dodgers’ final run. Dodgers rookie left-hander Caleb Ferguson pitched a scoreless eighth inning, while former starter Alex Wood combined with Dylan Floro combined for a scoreless ninth.
Six Braves pitchers combined to walk eight Dodgers batters, while striking out 10. The Braves’ offense had six hits to the Dodgers’ five.