MLB

Dodgers strike first in World Series after topping Rays in Game 1

The Los Angeles Dodgers drew first blood against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with an 8-3 victory.

Dodgers strike first in World Series after topping Rays in Game 1

The Los Angeles Dodgers were too good for the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the MLB World Series, winning 8-3 on Tuesday.

Not since 1988 have the Dodgers been crowned MLB champions but the Los Angeles franchise have a chance to end their drought following a third trip to the World Series in four years.

The Dodgers drew first blood against the Rays at Globe Life field, where ace Clayton Kershaw starred, and Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger homered.

Former National League (NL) MVP Kershaw reached 200 career strikeouts in the playoffs to move second on the all-time list, only behind Justin Verlander (205).

Kershaw – a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, eight-time All-Star and 2011 Gold Glove recipient – only gave up two hits and one run in six innings, finishing with eight strikeouts and retiring 17 of the 18 batters faced.

The scores were level until the fourth inning, when the Dodgers registered two runs thanks to help from Bellinger.

Bellinger became the second player to hit a go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the League Championship Series and Game 1 of the World Series in the same year, following in the footsteps of David Ortiz in 2004, per Stats Perform.

The Dodgers star homered off Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, who threw 112 pitches over 4.1 innings. It was the fewest innings pitched by any pitcher in an outing of 110-plus pitches in any postseason game since pitches were first tracked in 1988, according to Stats Perform.

Tampa Bay – back in the World Series for the first time in 12 years – got on the board thanks to Kevin Kiermaier's homer in the fifth inning but the Dodgers blew the game open with four runs in the same inning.

Betts flexed his muscles, taking a walk from Glasnow to set the tone before stealing second and third base before scoring – becoming the first player since Babe Ruth to walk and steal two bases in the same inning of a World Series game.

A World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox, Betts then homered leading off in the sixth inning, becoming only the second player in history with a home run and two stolen bases in a World Series game.

The Rays closed the gap with two runs in the seventh, but it was merely a consolation as Tampa Bay look to bounce back on Wednesday.