The Chicago Cubs edged to a series-opening win in the MLB playoffs, while the Los Angeles Dodgers won despite Clayton Kershaw's struggles.
Jon Lester pitched eight strong innings and Javier Baez homered in the Cubs' 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants in game one of the National League (NL) Division Series.
The other NLDS opener went the way of the Dodgers, who overcame the Washington Nationals 4-3 despite Kershaw lasting just five innings.
The American League (AL) Division Series are controlled by the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians.
The Blue Jays punished the Texas Rangers for missed chances, winning 5-3 to take a 2-0 series lead.
The Indians are 2-0 up against the Boston Red Sox after a 6-0 shut-out victory.
KERSHAW, PRICE STRUGGLE
Kershaw reached 100 pitches on Friday in the fifth inning. He is a six-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 MVP, but has inexplicably struggled beyond the regular season. Kershaw had won his last eight starts against the Nationals with an ERA of 0.88. Even with Friday's win, Kershaw is now just 3-6 in the postseason.
Two days after the Giants' Madison Bumgarner threw a complete-game shutout to beat the New York Mets in the NL wildcard game, lowering his road postseason ERA to 0.50, Red Sox pitcher David Price struggled in the playoffs once again. Despite being regarded as one of the best left-handed pitchers of his era, Price's teams are now 0-9 in the playoffs when he starts. Price is 2-8 in the playoffs throughout his career, with his two wins coming in relief efforts. Price gave up five earned runs off six hits in just 3.1 innings pitched Friday.
Despite connecting on nine hits off Jays starter J.A. Happ, the Rangers only scored one run. In fact, Texas left 13 runners on base and were two-for-18 with runners in scoring postilion. The Rangers missed out on another run in the bottom of the seventh when Ian Desmond hesitated running home from third base and was cut down at the plate on a fielder's choice.
BAEZ BASHES HOMER
Baez delivered when the Cubs needed him, homering to left field off Johnny Cueto, who struck out 10 through eight innings.
The Dodgers will have Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA) on the mound in his postseason debut. He has shined in his six starts with a 1.83 ERA since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics. The Nationals will counter with Tanner Roark (16-10, 2.83), who took the loss in a 3-2 Dodgers win on June 21.
Jeff Samardzija will try to get momentum back on San Francisco's side in a duel against NL Cy Young hopeful Kyle Hendricks. The Giants must better offensively if they are going to continue finding success in the postseason.