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Dodgers built to rally, but slow starts leading to frustration

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Yasiel Puig led off Wednesday's game with a double, but was stranded in scoring position.
Yasiel Puig led off Wednesday's game with a double, but was stranded in scoring position.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The key word for the Dodgers in Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Rangers was frustration, the byproduct of a three-game losing streak.

"This was probably the most frustrating game I've ever pitched, all things considered," said Clayton Kershaw, who struck out 10 but allowed four runs in six innings for the loss.

"The way I pitched, the hits that they got, just different things," he explained. "Not being able to go deep into the game, getting two outs after a first hit to the pitcher then almost getting out of the inning."

Kershaw left after needing 107 pitches to get through those six innings. The big blow was the two-run home run by Joey Gallo in the third frame, but Texas also tacked on runs in the second and fourth innings, and put another runner on in the sixth.

"There was a lot of traffic on the bases, a lot of it because we didn't help him defensively," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "It was a grind. As physically tired as he was after six innings, he was mentally tired as well, having to make big pitch after big pitch for six straight innings."

The Dodgers fell to 3-3 in interleague play.

"He looked frustrated at times out there," manager Don Mattingly said. "Clayton tonight is really a picture of us as a team, with the frustration and not playing as well as we're capable of."

The Dodgers rallied for three runs in the sixth inning on Wednesday, the earliest they have scored in any of their three losses to the Rangers the last three days. On Monday the Dodgers didn't score until the eighth inning, and on Tuesday they went until the ninth before scoring twice to tie it.

"We got a few big hits to get us back into the game. We're still fighting," Ellis said. "It says a lot about this team. We keep fighting for nine innings, but right now it's hard to finish the thing off."

The Dodgers have scored three total runs in the first five innings of their last six games, including never before the sixth inning in any of their last four contests. But they have scored 12 runs from the sixth inning on, rallying to tie or lead in the eighth inning or later three times during that span.

The opponent has scored first in the Dodgers' last five games. On the season, the Dodgers are 14-24 in such games. They are 23-5 when scoring first.

"Dodger baseball for us is getting a good start, and playing from out in front. We haven't done that a lot lately for a while. We've been playing from behind a lot. We've been able to come from behind and do a nice job," Ellis explained. "But for us it's getting a lead, having our starting pitchers go deep in the game, and find a way to get the ball to Kenley Jansen. We're not doing a very good job of that right now."

Up next

Zack Greinke takes the ball for the Dodgers in the series finale on Thursday night, with Anthony Ranaudo getting the call from Triple-A to make a spot start for the Rangers.