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7-run seventh inning dooms Dodgers

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers lost 11-5 to the Cubs in the series finale on Thursday afternoon despite a solid five-inning start by Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw pitched five strong frames against Chicago in his 300th start for the Dodgers. In his second start since returning from the disabled list, Kershaw’s curveball and fastball looked good. His fastball was up a tick from his last few starts hitting 93-mph on the gun.

Unfortunately Walker Buehler and Erik Goeddel combined to allow seven runs in a disastrous seventh inning, but the Dodgers had their chances including a bases loaded opportunity in the first frame. They went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.

Buehler, who pitched in relief, was shaky in his first appearance since returning from the disabled list with a rib microfracture. He allowed 5 runs on 5 hits with a walk and no strikeouts in one inning and 35 pitches.

Despite the rough outings by Buehler and Goeddel and the offense’s trouble with RISP, there were some highlights in the game for the Dodgers. In the top of the second, Matt Kemp mowed down Anthony Rizzo at second from right field, his second outfield assist of the season.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Public Enemy #1 was also looking sharp.

Kiké Hernandez also remained hot, knocking in two runs. The Dodgers plated the first run of the game in the bottom of the second, cashing in a single from Austin Barnes and a walk to Clayton Kershaw on a Hernandez RBI single.

Muncy, also hot, crushed a solo home run (his 10th of the month) in the third to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

Kershaw did have to pitch around base runners, and he allowed leadoff base hits in the second, third and fourth innings. Javier Baez continued to torment the Dodgers, and the Cubs cashed in his leadoff double in the fourth (off Kershaw’s curveball). Addison Russell’s RBI single made it a one-run game.

Kiké was at it again in the bottom of the fourth and smashed a two-out booming double to the right field gap giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

Walker Buehler came out of the bullpen in relief of Kershaw in the sixth inning and promptly served up a solo home run to Albert Amora Jr. The Cubs then tied the game up at three runs apiece with a Russell sacrifice fly.

The wind was knocked out of the Dodgers when the Cubs scored seven runs in a disastrous seventh inning. Buehler couldn’t retire anyone, and the Cubs took a 4-3 lead on a Heyward double. Roberts brought in Erik Goeddel, and the flood gates opened after Muncy lost a pop-up in the sun. Perhaps a rehab start for Buehler wasn’t a terrible idea after all.

The Cubs scored an additional run in the eighth off Caleb Ferguson. The Dodgers’ middle relief remains a liability.

Justin Turner went deep in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run shot, but the deficit was too great for the Dodgers to come back from. The Dodgers now have 53 home runs in June, matching their franchise record set last June.

Up next

The Dodgers continue their homestand with a three-game series against the scuffling Colorado Rockies. Rich Hill (1-2, 5.30 ERA, 5.59 FIP) and Tyler Anderson (4-3, 4.62 ERA, 4.70 FIP) will duel in the series opener. First pitch is at 7:10 PM PT.

Notes

Max Muncy has walked 24 times in his last 20 games. He became the first Dodger to reach 40 walks on the year.

The Cubs took the season series 4-3, and that could very well mean additional games at Wrigley Field come October if the two teams meet up again in the postseason.

Thursday particulars

Home runs: Max Muncy (17), Albert Amora Jr. (4), Addison Russell (4), Justin Turner (4)

WP - Cishek (2-0): 1 23 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

LP - Buehler (4-2): 1 IP, 5 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts