By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, pitching on short rest, stymied the New York Mets in a 3-1 win on Tuesday to stave off elimination and send their National League Division Series back to Los Angeles.
The victory leveled the series at 2-2 and set up a decisive Game Five on Thursday with the winner advancing to the best-of-seven National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs, who beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 in their series.
Los Angeles scored all their runs in the third inning keyed by an RBI-single by Adrian Gonzalez followed by a two-run double by Justin Turner off New York rookie starter Steven Matz.
Pitching on three days rest following his Game One loss, one fewer than usual, three-time Cy Young Award winner Kershaw struck out eight, walked only one and threw 94 pitches, yielding his only run on a fourth-inning homer by Daniel Murphy.
Kershaw, who has a career regular season record of 114-56 with an ERA of 2.43, came into Tuesday's game with a post-season record of 1-6 and a career ERA of 4.99.
New York threatened in the eighth, putting men on first and second with two outs before closer Kenley Jansen got Murphy to fly out to right on a 3-2 pitch.
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)