Cubs 3, Dodgers 2: Clayton Kershaw has early exit, no support

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kershaw lowered his ERA ever so slightly but pitched his shortest outing in four months as the Dodgers lost for the third time in their last four games.

Clayton Kershaw had a rare off night on Tuesday and the Dodgers provided very little offensive support. The Cubs took advantage for a 3-2 victory to snap the Dodgers' eight-game winning streak over Chicago.

Kershaw was fighting all night, beginning with a 29-pitch first inning that didn't produce any runs for the Cubs but set the tone for the night.

Cubs pitcher Travis Wood singled to open the third inning, just the second hit by a pitcher against Kershaw all season. He advanced to second base one out later when Darwin Barney reached on catcher's interference. Actual real life major league No. 3 hitter Dioner Navarro, whose .193/.276/.324 season in 2011 for the Dodgers represented an improvement over his previous two years, continued his resurgent season and made Kershaw pay with an RBI single to left center field for a 1-0 lead.

The run, though unearned, snapped Kershaw's consecutive scoreless streak at 18 innings.

Chicago struck again in the sixth inning, as Cody Ransom lined a ball directly off Kershaw's left shin for a single to open the frame. Kershaw threw one warmup pitch with assistant trainer Greg Harrel and manager Don Mattingly at the mound, but remained in the game. Kershaw walked Darnell McDonald then struck out the next two hitters to nearly get out of the inning. But leadoff man Starlin Castro had other plans, with an RBI single to left field for a 2-0 Cubs lead.

At 107 pitches Kershaw was pulled with two on and two outs in the sixth inning, his shortest outing since April 23 when he lasted just five innings against the Mets in New York.

Brian Wilson recorded the final out of the sixth inning to limit the damage. With one of his two runs allowed unearned, Kershaw actually saw his MLB-leading ERA go down ever so slightly, from 1.7244 to 1.7206.

Kershaw did strikeout nine on the night, giving him 197 strikeouts on the season to take over the National League lead from the shut-down Matt Harvey of the Mets. Kershaw is three strikeouts away from joining Sandy Koufax (1961-66) and Don Drysdale (1962-65) as the only Dodgers ever with four consecutive seasons of 200 strikeouts or more.

The Dodgers struck back with an unearned run of their own in the sixth against Wood. Hanley Ramirez blooped a single to right for his second safety of the night, then later advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt by Wood. Juan Uribe singled with two outs to score Ramirez to cut the Dodgers deficit to 2-1.

The top of the seventh proved painful for both teams, though it was the Dodgers that suffered on the scoreboard. After Donnie Murphy singled off Ronald Belisario's shin to put runners on first and second base with nobody out, Belisario then hit Junior Lake on the hand with a pitch. But instead of getting called a foul ball as the hand is part of the bat, Lake was awarded first base to load the bases. A double play by Brian Bogusevic brought home a run for a 3-1 Cubs advantage.

Even after getting hit on the foot Belisario remained in the game and pitched two innings. It was the first outing in seven days for Belisario, who was one of the players in the Dodgers clubhouse affected by a cold in the last few days.

The Dodgers used two singles and a hit batsman to score a run off reliever Pedro Strop in the eighth inning, but with first and second and one out pinch hitter Skip Schumaker didn't heed these words:

Schumaker grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the threat and keep the Cubs ahead 3-2.

Kevin Gregg, released by the Dodgers after failing to make the team out of spring training this season, recorded three outs in the ninth inning for his 27th save of the season for the Cubs. With Carl Crawford on base as the tying run, Gregg got Yasiel Puig to pop out in the infield for the final out of the game.

Notes

  • Puig went 2-for-5 on the night, his fifth multi-hit game in five games against the Cubs this season. Puig is 11-for-20 (.550) against Chicago.
  • Hanley Ramirez went 3-for-4 and scored a run, his first three-hit game since July 20.
  • The Dodgers have scored a total of 12 runs in his eight losses this season, and scored more than two runs in just one of those games, when they scored three on May 26 against St. Louis. Kershaw has a 3.93 ERA in those eight losses, and an 0.996 ERA in his other 20 starts.
  • Crawford went 0-for-4 with a walk to snap his eight-game hitting streak.

Up next

The Dodgers send Ricky Nolasco to the mound on Wednesday, looking to close out a stellar August of his own. Nolasco goes for his fifth win of August in a rare noon weekday start at Dodger Stadium, while old friend Edwin Jackson starts for the Cubs on getaway day.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: none

WP - Travis Wood (8-10): 7 IP, 5 hits, 1 unearned run, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

LP - Clayton Kershaw (13-8): 5⅔ IP, 7 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 3 walks, 9 strikeouts

Sv - Kevin Gregg (27): 1 IP, 1 walk

Magic number to clinch NL West: 23, pending outcome of Padres at Diamondbacks

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