Kershaw, Bellinger not enough in loss to D-backs

Ace allows two runs in six innings, exits with lead before bullpen collapse

May 2nd, 2018

PHOENIX -- Now it's May and still has only one win after the Dodgers bullpen let one get away vs. the first-place D-backs on Tuesday night, 4-3.

The Dodgers are nine games out of first place after playing only 29 games. They've lost their last four and seven of their last eight games, eight straight at Chase Field and seven of eight to Arizona this year.

"It doesn't matter what month it is," said Kershaw. "If you're 10 games out, you better start playing well."

The Dodgers bullpen has allowed 22 earned runs in the last 23 1/3 innings. The latest victim was left-handed reliever , who inherited a one-run lead from Kershaw to open the seventh inning and lasted only three batters. Right-handed hitters and John Ryan Murphy singled and came in on lefty 's two-run triple, pulled into the right-field corner to turn the game around.

Kershaw needed 101 pitches to get through six innings, racking up 52 pitches over the fourth and fifth innings. Manager Dave Roberts said he couldn't use Monday night starter and wanted to stay away from Josh Fields and , who also pitched Monday night. Confidence in is shaken. Tony Cingrani pitched Monday night and, after last week's "dead arm," is being used judiciously.

So, with the bottom of Arizona's lineup due up in the seventh, Roberts brought in Liberatore and planned for JT Chargois to face the middle of the D-backs' order in the eighth with for the ninth. After seven Liberatore pitches, the plan went up in flames.

"Clayton worked hard tonight and we've got to find a way to pick him up," said Roberts. "He pitched well enough to win. The 'pen, the last nine or 10 days, it's been rough, it's been a slump. It's a funk, we've got to get out of it."

, yanked from Sunday's game by Roberts for not hustling, blasted a 435-foot two-run homer down the right-field line in the third inning for a 2-1 lead. The shot off Matt Koch stayed just fair and followed a two-out walk by . It was also the Dodgers' last hit of the game.

The Dodgers added an unearned run in the fourth inning. Descalso dropped 's slicing liner in left field for a two-base error and Utley came around to score on a pair of groundouts for a 3-2 lead.

Kershaw went a solid six innings and allowed a pair of solo homers on sliders, one to A.J. Pollock in the second inning -- his sixth home run against the Dodgers this year and fourth in two games -- while pinch-hitter launched one 479 feet into the Friday's Sports Grill in the fifth.

With the no-decision, Kershaw is 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA. With better run support and relief work, he could just as well be 4-1. The four losses match his total losses in 2017 as well as 2016. At this time last year he already had four wins.

"It's frustrating for all of us," said Roberts. "When Clayton takes the mound, we expect to win. We win as a team, we lose as a team. We've got to keep fighting. We have a lot of talent and still have a long ways to go. There is a sense of urgency, these games matter and we understand that. We've got to make our own breaks."

Kershaw was not buying the suggestion that it's time for the tables to turn.

"That's not the way this game works," he said. "When it's going well it seems like it's just going to happen, but when you're not going well it takes a lot to get a win and especially against a good team like that. Just got to keep going, keep showing up and keep going."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED

reached base his other three plate appearances, but he grounded into a double play in the third inning and it couldn't have been timed worse. It followed a leadoff single by Chris Taylor. Then, with two outs, Grandal walked and Bellinger homered.

SOUND SMART

Kershaw passed former Dodger pitcher and scout Camilo Pascual (2,167) for 65th place on the all-time strikeout list (2,168), but the Dodgers are 3-8 in his last 11 starts at Chase Field.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

Walker's 479-foot home run was the third-longest in MLB this season and the longest allowed by Kershaw since at least 2015.

HE SAID IT

"There's a track record, there's a consistency there. … It starts with the starter going deep. I've got to do my job so everybody can do their jobs." -- Kershaw, on keeping the faith in the bullpen

UP NEXT

starts for the Dodgers in Wednesday's 6:40 p.m. PT game against and the D-backs. Ryu has been the most consistent of all the Dodgers starters, and he was good again in San Francisco, except for a pair of solo home runs allowed to and in a no-decision.