In his first major league game in 19 days, rookie left-hander Steven Matz surrendered three runs in five innings. Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw snapped a five-start postseason losing streak as the Dodgers avoided elimination with a 3-1 win against the Mets in Game 4 on Tuesday at Citi Field.
Jacob deGrom will oppose Zack Greinke in L.A. on Thursday to determine which team will host the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday. The Cubs ousted the St. Louis Cardinals earlier Tuesday.
Curtis Granderson and David Wright consecutively walked with two outs in the eighth, but closer Kenley Jansen retired Daniel Murphy on a fly ball to right field to end the threat en route to a four-out save.
Matz, the fourth rookie pitcher to start a postseason game in franchise history, had not appeared in a major league game since Sept. 24 due to back spasms. Still, the Mets concluded he was the best option to round out a division-series rotation with deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey. With hindsight, Bartolo Colon may have been the better choice. Working for the third time in the series, Colon logged two scoreless innings in relief of Matz.
Matz surrendered a two-out RBI single to Adrian Gonzalez, then a two-run double to ex-Met Justin Turner in the third as the Dodgers grabbed a 3-0 lead. Turner is 7-for-15 with four doubles in the series.
Matz's six regular-season games as a starting pitcher are the fewest in franchise history entering a first career postseason start. His regular-season total is the fewest in the majors since Matt Moore with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Moore had made three regular-season appearances (one start) entering his postseason debut.
Kershaw, pitching on short rest for the third time in his career, held the Mets hitless until Murphy's one-out solo homer in the fourth. Kershaw ultimately limited the Mets to one run on three hits and a walk while striking out eight in seven innings. He threw 94 pitches.
Thumbs up: Murphy has homered twice against Kershaw in the NLDS. Murphy had only one homer in 134 at-bats against left-handed pitching during the regular season.
Thumbs down: Chase Utley did not appear for the second straight game, depriving Mets fans of an opportunity to vocally abuse the ex-Phillie.
What's next: The Mets will wait until midday Wednesday before flying to Los Angeles. Game 5 will begin at 8:07 p.m. ET on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. DeGrom tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out 13 in the NLDS opener. Greinke allowed two runs in seven innings in Game 2.