LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw didn't make excuses following a poor start that saw him allow six walks and one home run in an 8-6 loss to the Miami Marlins."I just wasn't very good," Kershaw said. "A lot of guys on base. Almost skated out of it. I probably should
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw didn't make excuses following a poor start that saw him allow six walks and one home run in an 8-6 loss to the Miami Marlins.
"I just wasn't very good," Kershaw said. "A lot of guys on base. Almost skated out of it. I probably should have given up more than that, but not a great game, for sure."
In five innings pitched, Kershaw struck out seven, allowed three earned runs and walked six batters, which tied a career high. He hadn't allowed six walks in a game since April 7, 2010 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was just the third time in his career he had allowed six walks.
Kershaw struggled with his control for most of the game, but he seemed to unravel in the fifth inning specifically. He got the first two Marlins out before giving up back-to-back walks to first baseman Justin Bour and right fielder Cameron Maybin. The next batter was Miguel Rojas, who blasted a three-run home run down the left field line to put Miami up 3-0.
Before the fifth, Kershaw also had to pitch himself out of two bases-loaded jams.
Interestingly, Kershaw struck out all three Marlins batters in the first inning, which made his sudden drop-off starting in the second somewhat perplexing to the pitcher.
"The first inning, I felt pretty good with everything. I don't know why, but didn't really feel that great after that," he said.
Still, despite his issues, he almost made it all the way through the fifth inning without giving up a run before Rojas' blast.
"I thought after the first inning, I thought the stuff was really good. As he took the mound tonight, he just couldn't get into a rhythm and it seemed like he was laboring his entire outing and really couldn't find that rhythm and really was out of sync," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "But to his credit, he kept competing and fighting and he was one out away from going five innings scoreless."
The loss for the defending National League champion Dodgers was their second in a row against Miami, the last-place team in the NL East, after taking the first game of their three-game slate.
"I think that, to their credit, they really pitched well and in baseball -- that's the thing about baseball, is just the unknown," Roberts said. "The Marlins, they played hard, they're very well managed and it's unpredictable and every night, any night, someone can win and unfortunately, we didn't play our best and those guys pitched really well. They did and they got hits when they needed to and they won a series."
After Kershaw exited the game, in the sixth inning, Miami lengthened its lead when catcher J.T. Realmuto took relief pitcher Daniel Hudson deep on a 3-2 pitch to left-center field to put the Marlins up, 4-0.
In the sixth inning, Dodgers left fielder Joc Pederson hit a line drive single to right field, scoring Corey Seager to chip into Miami's lead and snatch back a little momentum.
But the Marlins again figured out a way to score via homer, with Realmuto hammering a two-run blast to left-center field in the top of the eighth inning off Los Angeles pitcher Scott Alexander.
The rest of the way, it felt like every time the Dodgers got back into the game, the Marlins would answer.
"Baseball's not like basketball or football. The better team doesn't always win," Los Angeles first baseman Cody Bellinger said. "Obviously we are the better team and, like I said, we just didn't put together quality at-bats."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Chase Utley's costly throwing error on a Derek Dietrich grounder in the top of the ninth inning proved to be the difference in the game. The play scored two runs for the Marlins, including the game winner.
Bellinger went 2-for-5 for his team-leading eighth multi-hit game of the season. He has reached base safely in nine of 10 career games against the Marlins. Bellinger made his MLB debut one year ago Wednesday.
HE SAID IT
"You probably won't see that again for a while from him, but he's human. I don't think anyone's knocking him down. I think you just don't expect it, but that happens sometimes." -- Bellinger, on Kershaw's performance
The Dodgers have a travel day Thursday and then will face the San Francisco Giants on Friday to start a four-game series. The two teams have played six times, splitting the season series so far at 3-3. Two of those games have gone to extra innings. Hyun-Jin Ryu will face Derek Holland in Friday's match, set for 7:15 p.m. PT.
Josh Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.