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Lions QB Matthew Stafford calls childhood friend Clayton Kershaw's Game 4 performance 'gritty'

Lions QB Matthew Stafford calls childhood friend Clayton Kershaw's Game 4 performance 'gritty'
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw shows his grit against Washington on Oct. 11. (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is preparing for Sunday's game against the Rams, grew up and was high school teammates with Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

So Stafford was an interested observer Tuesday night when Kershaw pitched against the Washington Nationals in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.

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The Dodgers led, 5-2, when Kershaw left with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. All three Washington runners ended up scoring to tie the game, but the Dodgers came back for a 6-5 win.

"I thought he pitched really well — gutted it out," Stafford said during a conference call. "Obviously, unfortunate what happened in the seventh there, but they got the win.

"I know he's happy they got the win. I thought he pitched a great game, really tough and gritty like he always is."

Stafford and Kershaw played on the same youth sports teams and at Highland Park High in Texas.

Kershaw was selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 2006 Major League Baseball draft. Stafford played college football at Georgia and was selected No. 1 overall by the Lions in the 2009 NFL draft.

The childhood friends remain in contact.

"We both have busy schedules but we try to shoot each other a text every once in awhile," Stafford said. "I try to catch most of the games I can when he's throwing."

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