Andre Ethier made a diving catch in right field in the bottom of the ninth inning for the second out on what looked like a game-saving play. But, it ended up only delaying the inevitable as one batter later, Martin Prado lined a single down the left field line to score Michael Bourn to give the Braves a 4-3 win, ending the Dodgers' winning streak at six.
The narrative was going perfectly until the seventh inning. Clayton Kershaw was masterful, and Matt Kemp provided the offense with a three-run home run. The Dodgers led 3-0 but their parade was about to be rained on, literally.
In the top of the inning, Clayton Kershaw dropped a perfect bunt single to third base and was followed by a sharp single to left field by Dee Gordon. For the third time in 19 hours or so, Don Mattingly had James Loney attempt to bunt the runners over in front of Matt Kemp. It is unfathomable that Mattingly keeps willingly trying to take the bat out of his best hitter's hands, especially given a demonstration of Kemp's prowess earlier in the game. Loney then bunted foul twice, then struck out, his at-bat effectively sacrificed by Mattingly. Unfortunately though for the Dodgers, with no first base open, the Braves pitching to Kemp resulted in a strikeout.
In the bottom of the inning, a pair of one-out singles gave the Braves their first rally of the day, with runners at first and third. Jose Constanza hit a hard grounder to Aaron Miles at third base, but Miles rushed his throw and threw wildly to second base. Justin Sellers was on his way to cover second, and had to change course to even catch the throw, so the one sure out was no more. With the speed of Constanza, it's hard to say that it would have been an inning-ending double play ball, but it was certainly hit hard enough to consider the possibility.
Kershaw didn't help himself with a wild pitch to put the tying runs in scoring position, then the piper came due with a shattered-bat bloop single by Brooks Conrad to tie the game.
Both the tying and winning runs scored by the Braves on Sunday were advanced into scoring position by a wild pitch.
As it was, Kershaw pitched a fantastic game, allowing two earned runs in his seven innings, striking out 10 and walking none. He pitched the 67th game by a Dodger since 1919 with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks. It was the second such game for Kershaw and the third of his career.
Gordon had three hits, including a double, and is 9-for-16 since getting activated from the disabled list.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up the win for the Braves, his 37th straight scoreless appearance, spanning 36 2/3 innings. He struck out three of the seven batters he faced during this weekend series, or 42.9%, right in line with his seasonal mark of striking out 42.2% of batters faced.
The now-mortal Dodgers move on to Washington DC, where they will open a four-game series Monday morning against the Nationals. Hiroki Kuroda starts the opener for the Dodgers, facing John Lannan.
WP - Craig Kimbrel (4-2): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP - Blake Hawksworth (2-5): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout