Clayton Kershaw’s October woes resurface and Dodgers fall behind in Series
After a seven-inning outing with 11 strikeouts and one run on three hits in Game One, Clayton Kershaw works only four and two-thirds in Game Five with six runs on four hits and only two strikeouts. AP

HOUSTON — Clayton Kershaw returned to the dugout and sat down after one of the worst performances of his major league career. A few minutes later, the Los Angeles Dodgers' lead gone, he buried his head in his hands.

In the opener, he elicited memories of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser.

In Game Five, he dredged up recollections of Jason Schmidt.

Expected to dominate the Houston Astros and move the Dodgers within a win of their first World Series title since 1988, Kershaw was chased in the fifth inning of a crushing 13-12, 10-inning loss on Sunday night (Monday, Manila time). Los Angeles headed home in a 3-2 World Series deficit.

A three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and five-time NL ERA champion, Kershaw is likely a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The 29-year-old left-hander hoped this October would be the crowning achievement of his career, a ring to fill the emotional hole left by all a string of October exits.

Given a 4-0 lead, Kershaw allowed Houston to tie it in the fourth on Carlos Correa's RBI double and Yuli Gurriel's no-doubt, three-run homer to left, a crushed slider that jolted most of the orange-clad crowd of 43,300 outs of the seats.

Reprieve led only to a further flop.

After Cody Bellinger put the Dodgers back ahead with a three-run homer in the fifth, Kershaw walked George Springer with two outs in the bottom half. Kershaw shouted at himself after missing low with a slider on a 1-0 pitch.

Ahead of Alex Bregman 1-2 in the count, Kershaw walked him on the 10th pitch. That was enough for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who pulled him after 94 pitches, just 57 of them for strikes.

Jose Altuve sent Kenta Maeda's seventh pitch over the Phillips 66 Home Run Porch in left-center, tying the score 7-7.

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Kershaw allowed 27 home runs during the regular season, seven more than his previous career high. Gurriel's was the eighth off Kershaw in the postseason, the most ever allowed by a pitcher.

Kershaw induced just four swings and misses, his fewest in a start since four by San Diego on April 5, 2012.

While Bellinger's RBI triple past diving center fielder Springer put the Dodgers back ahead in the seventh, Brandon Morrow had one of the Series' most memorable meltdowns in the bottom half. Pitching for the third straight day for the first time in his big league career, he gave up Springer's home run to the left-field railroad tracks, Bregman's single, Altuve's run-scoring double and a pop fly two-run homer to Correa that had a seven-second hang time before dropping behind the left field scoreboard.

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