Will the real Clayton Kershaw please stand up?
The Dodgers' ace allowed two home runs and the San Francisco Giants stunned Los Angeles, 4-3, on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Whether it was a bad impersonator or simply an off night, Kershaw struggled in his first start against the Giants at home this season.
"It just wasn't a great night," said Kershaw matter of factly. "They don't strikeout. They're one of the few teams these days that take pride in not striking out. They grinded out at-bats."
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits with no walks and just five strikeouts in his second loss of the season. It was just the second time in his last 25 starts against San Francisco that Kershaw allowed four or more runs.
"Four runs is tough to give up," added Kershaw. "Especially agianst a guy like Cueto."
San Francisco took Kershaw deep in both the first and third innings as Hunter Pence and Buster Posey both homered off the left-hander.
It was just the 18th time in Kershaw's illustrious career that he allowed two or more home runs in a game, and just the 8th time it happened at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw got one of the runs back with an RBI single in the second inning that scored Cody Bellinger, but San Francisco starter Johnny Cueto retired the next 13 batters after that, allowing just three runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven strong innings.
"I was cheating to get those extra steps," said Bellinger of the play he scored on. "I took a wide turn at third. If I hadn't taken such a wide turn it wouldn't have been as close. Toles [Andrew] told me to slide to the left side, so I listended to him and it worked."
"I gave myself a pep talk after that at-bat," Cueto said of how he was able to retire 13 consecutive hitters following the RBI to Kershaw. "I was timid early on, but after I got upset at myself I was able to grind it out."
Kershaw's outing was even more surprising considering the 2014 MVP was 10-0 with a 0.65 ERA in his last 11 games at Dodger Stadium.
"Obviously, you expect perfection out of Clayton everytime he takes the mound," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts about his ace. "He struggled with his slider and left a curveball up to Pence. It was a grind for him tonight."
Derek Law faced just one batter, Yasiel Puig, in the bottom of the ninth, for the one-out save, his first of the season and second of his career.
The loss snapped the Dodgers' season-high four-game winning streak.
Another streak was snapped as well as Justin Turner's MLB-best 16-game hitting streak came to an end.
The Dodgers are expected to activate right-hander hitter, Franklin Gutierrez from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday to start against Giant's lefty Matt Moore. Alex Wood counters for the Dodgers with first pitch scheduled for 7:10PM PST.