Clayton Kershaw is universally regarded as the greatest pitcher in baseball, hands down.*

The asterisk? It stands for, “except in October.”

Or at least it did.

Tonight, with both the Los Angeles Dodgers’ season and his postseason reputation on the line, Kershaw delivered in what was arguably the most important start of his career.

He went seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out eight. The lone run came on a Daniel Murphy solo shot in the fourth.

Otherwise, the New York Mets were silenced by the three-time Cy Young Award winner, and the Dodgers took Game 4 by a score of 3-1, forcing a decisive Game 5 on Thursday night back at Dodger Stadium.

Mets rookie Steven Matz unfortunately fell victim to the illustrious “one bad inning” start. Los Angeles scored all three runs in the third inning, thanks to an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez and a two-run double by ex-Met Justin Turner. Otherwise, Matz struck out four in five innings and kept the Mets in the game, as did their bullpen cavalry of Bartolo Colon, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia.

To no one’s surprise, the Mets’ biggest chance in the game came immediately after Kershaw was lifted. Chris Hatcher came in in the eighth and got the first two outs before walking Curtis Granderson. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly then went to closer Kenley Jansen, who uncharacteristically walked David Wright. But seemingly as soon as the Mets threat began, it ended, as Murphy flew out to Yasiel Puig to end the inning. Jansen then picked up the save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Game 5 will match up Mets’ Game 1 winner Jacob deGrom vs. Zack Greinke, who got the win for the Dodgers in Game 2. Everything is on the line for these two franchises, and fans are already champing at the bit to see who moves on, and who heads golfing.

Simply put, it is October baseball at its finest.

Fans of either side can get to Dodger Stadium for Game 5 through Hipmunk.com. Cheap flights to Los Angeles on Hipmunk can be paired with a cheap Los Angeles hotel on Hipmunk to watch the tense action in person at the ballpark.

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