The good news for Clayton Kershaw on Friday night was that he retired 18 of the final 21 batters he faced, and had 10 strikeouts for the third time this season and 21st time of his career. But he also allowed three runs and was outdone by Juan Nicasio, sending the Dodgers to a 3-0 loss to the Rockies at Dodger Stadium.
The loss snapped the Dodgers' five-game winning streak and, coupled with Arizona's 2-1 defeat of Milwaukee, pushed the Dodgers to 2½ games back in the National League West.
Kershaw entered Friday with just two first-inning runs allowed in 19 starts this season, but doubled that thanks to three hits and an ill-fated throw by Andre Ethier. With Dexter Fowler on third and D.J. LeMahieu on first base and out out, Troy Tulowitzki flew out to Ethier in center field. Ethier had little chance to get Fowler at the plate but threw home anyway and his throw home was too high to cut off, allowing LeMahieu to advance into scoring position.
Wilin Rosario's single brought home LeMahieu for a quick 2-0 lead for Colorado.
Kershaw had only allowed one run in his 19 fifth innings before Friday night, but the Rockies tacked on an insurance run in the fifth on Friday. LeMahieu singled to right field to score Nolan Arenado as the throw from right fielder Scott Van Slyke - not Yasiel Puig, who left the game before the inning as a precaution for his left hip - was just up the third base line.
The three runs were more than enough for Nicasio, who was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs to make Friday's start. He allowed just three hits and a walk in his seven scoreless innings for his fifth win of the season.
At least Friday brought us this gem from Dodger Stadium:
Can I buy a vowel? pic.twitter.com/pnMqDtihad— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 13, 2013
- A.J. Ellis went 0-for-4 Friday night to snap his nine-game hitting streak.
- Kershaw will head into the All-Star break leading the major leagues with a 1.98 ERA.
- Friday was Kershaw's 16th quality start in 20 outings this season, tying him with Adam Wainwright for second most in the majors.
- Carlos Gonzalez struck out four times in his four at-bats, including three times against Kershaw. It was the third golden sombrero of Gonzalez's career.
- The two stolen bases by the Rockies on Friday matched a season high in a game against the Dodgers this season. The Dodgers allowed two steals in a game four other times this season, all against the Padres.
The Dodgers will try to avoid their first two-game losing streak since June 20-21, just over three weeks, by sending Zack Greinke to the mound on Saturday afternoon in a 4:15 p.m. PT start on big Fox. Tyler Chatwood gets the start for Colorado.
Home runs: none
WP - Juan Nicasio (5-4): 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
LP - Clayton Kershaw (8-6): 7 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Sv - Rafael Betancourt (14): 1 IP, 1 hit