In his eight-year career Clayton Kershaw has never lost three consecutive starts…until Saturday.
The reigning NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner was cursed by a couple of costly errors and the Miami Marlins derailed the Dodgers' three-game winning streak 3-2.
Coming into the game, the Dodgers were riding a franchise record 13 consecutive games without an error. They led the Big Leagues with a .990 fielding percentage and were tied with the Marlins for the fewest errors in baseball (29), but, oh, what a difference a day makes.
The Dodgers committed errors in the first and second innings, gifting the Marlins two unearned runs that should have been outs.
"We definitely beat ourselves tonight," Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "If you take the bad throw and the wild pitch, we're up 2-1 after the first inning."
After a solo homer by Justin Turner to start the game, the Marlins rallied in the bottom half of the first inning after. Following an infield single by Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria hit a soft single to right field that Andre Ethier threw into the Marlins dugout. Instead of runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs, Miam was in buisness with a run in, and a runner on third.
Seconds later, Kershaw was charged with a wild pitch on a ball that bounced between Grandal's legs and the Marlins would take a 2-1 lead on two runs that should have never occurred.
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"That wild pitch gave them the second run, which you never want to do," Kershaw said. "I wasn't really sharp the first few innings. I was a little all over the place with my fastball early on."
An inning later, the defensive miscues continued when Joc Pederson dropped a line drive by opposing pitcher Tom Koehler that bounced off his glove and the Marlins scored another unearned run to lead 3-1.
"It cost us the game," a somber Pederson said. "I messed up. I made us lose. It's hard to rebuttal from an error that cost us the game like that."
The Dodgers got a run in the fourth on a single to left by Adrian Gonzalez, but stranded runners on first and third after Grandal hit into an inning-ending double play.
"That double play kept them in the lead, and kept them in the game," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We had a chance to score another run there and you never know what happens after that.
Koehler (6-4) allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings and the Marlins bullpen would close the door from there, ruining another quality start for Kershaw, handing him his third consecutive loss for the first time in his career.
"I'm fine with it," Kershaw said of losing three consecutive starts. "It never feels good to lose, but I'm fine. It's okay."
Kershaw (5-6) can't seem to catch a break as the ace of the staff allowed just three runs (one earned) on seven hits with nine strikeouts, and no walks, but has gotten three runs or fewer in his last five outings.
"I started figuring it out towards the end and I actually felt pretty good," Kershaw continued. "I was able to work my way out of some jams and I felt good overall."
Yelich clobbered Kershaw going 4-for-4 with a run scored as the Southern California native broke out of a slump, increasing his average to .242 on the year.
Three members of the December trade that sent All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon to the Marlins started on Saturday as Miguel Rojas started at third base opposite Gordon and super-utility player Kiké Hernandez started in left field for Los Angeles.
A.J. Ramos pitched a perfect ninth inning for the Marlins earning his 10th save of the season, striking out Turner and Gonzalez before Ethier grounded out to first to end the game.
The Dodgers announced before the game that left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez would undergo surgery to remove bone spurs in his pitching elbow and will miss the next 8-10 weeks.
Miami also received bad news as their slugger Giancarlo Stanton underwent an MRI on Saturday that revealed a fractured wrist and he will miss the next 4-6 weeks. Stanton leads the Major Leagues in home runs and RBIs with 27 and 67 respectively.
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