Not a replay, just painfully close. Clayton Kershaw near brilliant for six innings, then tiring in the seventh. The Dodgers' offense never getting it going. The bullpen faltering. The big hit, big play, never arriving.
And the loss, the much too familiar loss.
This time it added up to a 3-1 loss to the Mets in Game 1 of their National League division series on a 90-degree Friday night before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 54,428, a stinging defeat in the best-of-five series.
As good as Kershaw was Friday -- and he was very, very good -- he was outpitched by New York’s Jacob deGrom, who matched Kershaw early and then simply outlasted him.
Kershaw gave up a solo home run to second baseman Daniel Murphy, a blast that landed deep into the Mets bullpen.
But otherwise Kershaw and deGrom were providing a classic postseason pitching duel, each with at least 10 strikeouts by the fifth inning.
And it remained a 1-0 Mets lead until the seventh, Kershaw’s personal postseason inning of horror. Already at 88 pitches when he took the mound, he walked the bases loaded with two outs. He was still throwing hard but had lost his sharpness.
This time Manager Don Mattingly took him out in a difficult postseason seventh inning and brought in Pedro Baez. It was probably the right move, but with Mattingly in the postseason, almost any decision he makes seems to backfire.
Veteran David Wright, who had struck out twice against Kershaw, worked the count full and then lined a two-run single up the middle, just beyond diving second baseman Howie Kendrick.
Kershaw would be charged with the three runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out 11. And suffered yet another difficult postseason loss. He fell to 1-6 in the postseason.
The Dodgers never really were able to do anything with deGrom. The 6-foot-4 left-hander never let the Dodgers get comfortable. He consistently threw 98 mph fastballs on both sides of the plate.
He went seven impressive innings, holding the Dodgers scoreless on five hits -- two of those aided by some circuitous defensive play by left-fielder Michael Cuddyer. He walked one (intentionally) and struck out 13, tying Tim Seaver’s postseason franchise record. All this in his first career playoff game.
It was the first time in postseason history that both starting pitchers struck out at least 11 batters.
The Dodgers did not push a run across until deGrom left the game. Tyler Clippard took over in the eighth and gave up a one-out double to Kendrick. Corey Seager popped up, but Adrian Gonzalez laced a single to left to score Kendrick.
That was enough for Mets Manager Terry Collins, who went to his closer with two outs in the eighth. Jeurys Familia came in to face Justin Turner, getting him to line out to first.
Familia retired the Dodgers in order in the ninth to earn the save.
Follow Steve Dilbeck on Twitter @SteveDilbeck