The reigning National League MVP did all he could to right the ship for Los Angeles on Sunday, but the Dodgers bullpen blew their fourth lead in eight games and the Houston Astros walked off to beat Dodgers 3-2 completing a three-game sweep.
Jason Castro hit a solo home run that just got over the wall in left field completing the comeback victory for the Astros who extended their lead in the AL West to four games over the Texas Rangers and 5.5 over the Angels.
"We've been in so many of them this year it's just that mentality that we're comfortable playing from behind late," Castro said of the Astros in extra inning games. "I think that's an attribute that's going to serve us well going forward in the playoffs…we don't give up."
The Dodgers blew a dominant performance by Kershaw when closer Kenley Jansen allowed a game-tying RBI single to Marwin Gonzalez with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
It was just Jansen's second blown save of the season and ended a string of 17 straight consecutive save opportunities for the big right-hander.
Kershaw did everything he could, allowing just one run on seven hits with 10 strikeouts in eight powerful innings.
"I hope we're panicking," Kershaw said. "I think panic's a good thing to a certain extent. It's obvious we've got five weeks or whatever it is, too. So, I hope there's a sense of urgency."
For the second straight game, Kershaw left the game with the lead, only to see the bullpen blow the win, handing the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner a no-decision.
Kershaw is 5-0 in his last nine starts, but easily could be 7-0 with a little help from the backend of the pen. The left-hander has not lost since June 27th and lowered his ERA to 2.29 on the year.
"I feel like we've got to start playing with a sense of urgency," Kershaw continued. "Not to say we haven't, but it's definitely time to start thinking that way."
Houston stole the sweep from the Dodgers, for the first time since May of 2008 and handed LA their fifth straight loss and seventh consecutive on the road.
Despite scoring two runs, the offense was stagnant again. The Dodgers took advantage of three wild pitches by Lance McCullers scoring each run thanks to the pitcher's deficiencies.
Newest Dodger, Chase Utley put Los Angeles on the board in the first inning. After a one-out double, Utley advanced to third on a breaking ball in the dirt that got past Castro.
One pitch later, Utley scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by third baseman Justin Turner.
The Dodgers scored again after back-to-back wild pitches by McCullers in the fifth scored A.J. Ellis who hit a double earlier in the inning.
McCullers was wild, but effective. The Astros rookie allowed two runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts in seven strong innings competing against Kershaw.
Jose Altuve continued to crush the Dodgers' Cy Young candidates. A day after hitting a triple and a home run off Zack Greinke. Altuve went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored against Kershaw.
Rookie of the Year candidate Carlos Correa singled up the middle that scored Altuve in the bottom of the sixth inning. Two batters later, center fielder, Carlos Gomez tried to steal home on Kershaw but was tagged out by Ellis just before his fingers touched the plate.
Correa got the Astros going again in the bottom of the ninth when he led off the inning with a single and stole second base. Correa scored the game-tying run two batters later thanks to Gonzalez's single.
"We are a first-place team," Correa said. "The atmosphere in here is that we are the best team in baseball."
Chris Hatcher was called upon to pitch the bottom of the tenth, but was beaten by Castro on a 96 MPH fastball that landed into the first row of the seats in left field for the walk-off, game-winning homer.
Clayton Kershaw was a phenomenal 52-24 (.684) with a 2.34 ERA following a Dodgers loss.
The double play duo of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley played in their 1,189th game together, the most among any active duo in the Major Leagues, and second most all-time.
Yasiel Puig was ejected from the game in the top of the ninth inning after he struck out looking and threw his bat in frustration.
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