"He's got great stuff. Don't cut him short. But you hope you make better use of your opportunities," manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's frustrating."
The D-backs had more chances to score against Kershaw than many teams can boast. In the 18 starts since Kershaw imploded against the D-backs on May 17, he has pitched to a 1.29 ERA.
But the D-backs could have easily raised that.
They loaded the bases with one out in the third inning -- the first time Kershaw has pitched with the bases loaded this season -- but couldn't bring in a run.
The next inning, the D-backs put up their only run of the game. Alfredo Marte led off the frame with a double and scored on an error when left fielder Scott Van Slyke struggled to get Jordan Pacheco's single back to the infield after he injured his right ankle gathering a misplay by center fielder Yasiel Puig. Pacheco was standing on second with no outs, but he was stranded.
Arizona's last real chance at getting to Kershaw (16-3) came in the fifth when Ender Inciarte led off with a triple. But the ace lefty got two strikeouts and a popout to end the inning and retired 12 of the next 13 batters he faced. He finished the game with 10 strikeouts in eight innings while allowing only the one unearned run.
"Reality is he's a pretty tough dude to do too much against," said Mark Trumbo, who went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position against Kershaw. "But a big hit at some point would have been real nice."
Said Kershaw: "It was a bad start, really. There were guys on base the whole night; I had to work out of jams. Fortunately, I got through eight innings."
The D-backs finished the game 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Although they had more opportunities to bring in runs than the Dodgers, Los Angeles capitalized on their chances.
All three Dodgers runs came in one poor inning from D-backs starter Wade Miley (7-10), who went six innings despite struggling with command on Wednesday, which kept him from matching up with Kershaw.
"Everybody knows he's one of the best to play the game in a long time," Miley said. "So tip your hat to him. He threw the ball great tonight."
Miley allowed two runners to get on to start the third inning, and both scored on a double by Matt Kemp, who attempted to turn the double into a triple and got thrown out in the process.
The baserunning mistake cost the Dodgers a run, as Van Slyke, who is 8-for-18 with five career home runs off Miley, homered two batters later.
"It was actually a pretty good pitch," Miley said. "I went and looked at it and kind of did what I wanted to do. Really didn't even want to get a swing there, wanted to go in-off [off the plate inside], and I did."
But the lost run proved unnecessary, as Kershaw cruised through the rest of the game, and Kenley Jansen came in for his 100th career save, keeping the Dodgers five games ahead of the Giants for the division lead.
"It stinks. You want to get the job done, especially against a good ballclub like this," Trumbo said. "But you got to take your medicine sometimes."