Troublesome sixth rattles Kershaw in LA's loss

Troublesome sixth rattles Kershaw in LA's loss

Troublesome sixth rattles Kershaw in LA's loss
PHOENIX -- Through five innings Friday night, Clayton Kershaw dominated the scuffling D-backs, facing just one batter more than the minimum.

The All-Star appeared to be on his way to his eighth win in 12 career starts against Arizona, which entered the game with a combined batting average of .129 vs. the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.

But then came the sixth inning.

Leading by two at the time, Kershaw allowed five of the first six batters to reach base as the D-backs batted around and held on for a 5-3 victory over the Dodgers at Chase Field despite Los Angeles out-hitting the home team by seven.

"They got some hits, and before you know it, we're down," Kershaw said. "It was just a rough inning, really. I didn't pitch very well."

The loss snapped Los Angeles' three-game winning streak as the club stranded 12 runners, including seven in the final three innings.

"We left ourselves all kinds of chances tonight, and really, we just didn't execute," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We swung the bats pretty good tonight. We just didn't get the hit when we needed it. It's going to happen to you now and then."

In his 5 1/3 innings of five-hit work, Kershaw was charged with five earned runs, the most he has surrendered since May 30 against the Brewers.

After walking the first batter of the sixth and striking out the next, Kershaw gave up back-to-back singles before Justin Upton delivered the biggest hit of the frame, a two-run triple down the left-field line. Jason Kubel followed with a double before Mattingly finally went to the bullpen.

"He's tough, you've just got to scrap it out," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of Kershaw. "To get that many runs off him, you just keep grinding away at him. He came out and lost it a little bit, wasn't locating it as well and we were able to get on some mistakes."

Despite the shutdown results he experienced for the majority of his outing, Kershaw felt he didn't have his best stuff all night.

"The results were OK, I just didn't really get ahead of anybody all night and I didn't have fastball command," he said. "I was just getting some guys to chase, making one good pitch an at-bat to get a guy out. I was fighting uphill the whole day."

Trailing, 5-2, the Dodgers didn't go away quietly the rest of the game and even looked poised to tie or take the lead in the seventh. But after placing the first four batters of the inning on base courtesy of a walk and three singles, D-backs reliever Mike Zagurski struck out Jerry Hairston and got James Loney to fly out, resulting in Kubel throwing out Mark Ellis at home to end the threat.

"It's unfortunate, I came up, I just didn't get the job done," Hairston said. "You want to be aggressive, but I'd never faced that guy before. You want to see what he's got, and before you know it, I'm down 0-2."

In the eighth, the Dodgers again made things interesting, putting runners on the corners with no outs. But the club couldn't capitalize, flying out once and striking out twice. The team collected two more hits in its final at-bat, but Loney grounded out to end the game.

"We had opportunities just to hit sac flies, but we didn't get one," Mattingly said. "We could've been right back in the game there. It was a weird kind of game because we had a lot of chances. It was just an inability to execute."

D-backs starter Josh Collmenter pitched much better than his bullpen counterparts, leaving Los Angeles hitters off-balance for the majority of his outing, striking out six and giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits.

"He's a different kind of cat because he's got that high fastball that rises up there," Mattingly said. "He gets a lot of chases up and he mixes that with his curveball and a real good changeup. Some of our guys seemed to have trouble leaving that pitch upstairs alone."

The Dodgers built their lead early in the game on a Bobby Abreu double in the third and an Adam Kennedy solo homer in the fourth, his first long ball since July 20 of last season.

"The bottom line is we keep putting ourselves in position to win," Hairston said. "We're not going to win every time, though. You can't. It's unfortunate it happened to us tonight. The D-backs have obviously had their ups and downs of late, but they are a very good team. They played well tonight."

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.