ATLANTA — Kris Medlen entered the postseason as the National League’s hottest pitcher for the second year in a row, and once again he was greeted rudely by the opposition and done no favors by his defense early — or himself later — on a night when the Braves needed far more against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.
And so their home playoff woes continue.
The Dodgers scored two runs in an ugly second inning, and Adrian Gonzalez added a two-run homer in the third, propelling Kershaw and the West Division champions to a 6-1 win against the Braves in an NLDS opener Thursday night before a crowd of 43,021 at Turner Field.
Kershaw struck out 12 in seven innings while allowing only three hits, one run and three walks.
The left-hander struck out nine of the last 11 batters he faced and threw 124 pitches, including 77 in the first four innings before he went on his strikeout bender.
It was the fourth consecutive home playoff loss for the Braves and 17th in 22 home postseason games dating to a pair of losses to start the 1999 World Series against the Yankees.
Medlen was charged with nine hits and five runs in four-plus innings for the Braves, who have lost six consecutive playoff series plus the Wild Card game against St. Louis last year. He was replaced with two on and none out in the fifth inning after giving up a single and hitting Yasiel Puig with a pitch.
Brian McCann’s long fly to the left-field wall with two on the fourth was the one time Kershaw looked vulnerable. It was caught, a loud out and the Braves’ last major threat.