Changing jerseys to beat the 103-degree heat, the Dodgers ace with a checkered playoff history delivered a signature performance, pitching Los Angeles past the Houston Astros 3-1 Tuesday night in the World Series opener.
Boosted by Justin Turner's tiebreaking, two-run homer in the sixth inning off Dallas Keuchel, Kershaw was in complete control against the highest-scoring team in the majors this season.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out 11 , gave up just three hits and walked none over seven innings, featuring a sharp breaking ball that often left Houston batters taking awkward swings. His lone blemish was a home run by Alex Bregman in the fourth that made it 1-all.
Brandon Morrow worked a perfect eighth and Kenley Jansen breezed through the Astros in the ninth for a save in a combined three-hitter.
With both aces throwing well, the opener zipped by in 2 hours, 28 minutes - fastest in the World Series since Game 4 in 1992 between Toronto and Atlanta. Jimmy Key and the Blue Jays won that one 2-1 in 2:21.
Game 2 is Wednesday evening, with AL Championship Series MVP Justin Verlander starting against Dodgers lefty Rich Hill.