DENVER -- Clayton Kershaw has allowed home runs and suffered defeats, but when they happen as they did in Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Rockies, it brought Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to issue this reminder:"He's human," Roberts said.Kershaw gave up back-to-back homers for the first time in his career
DENVER -- Clayton Kershaw has allowed home runs and suffered defeats, but when they happen as they did in Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Rockies, it brought Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to issue this reminder:
"He's human," Roberts said.
Kershaw gave up back-to-back homers for the first time in his career (to Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra), allowed multiple homers in the same inning for only the third time and allowed three homers in a game for the third time (second against Colorado).
"I didn't know that," he said when told he had never allowed consecutive homers. "That was cool for a little bit, I guess."
Kershaw had thrown 1,772 1/3 innings before the back-to-back homers, the most to start a career since Greg Maddux threw 2,806, according to ESPN.
Five of Kershaw's pitches were returned with an exit velocity in excess of 100 mph, according to Statcast™. That included Nolan Arenado's solo shot in the first inning, only the fourth home run off Kershaw's curveball since 2015, when Statcast™ started tracking. Arenado's is the hardest-hit (103.7 mph) and farthest projected distance (431 feet) of any homer off Kershaw's curve since 2015.
"My stuff was fine," said Kershaw, who allowed eight hits in six innings. "Just had some bad pitches there and tonight they went over the fence. It's a good team, you can't make mistakes and I made too many tonight."
Over the previous two seasons, the Dodgers ace ranked third in opponents' slugging percentage (.164) among all pitchers with at least 500 tracked curves or knuckle-curves, according to Statcast™.
Kershaw questioned his pitch selection to Arenado (curveball), but felt the slider that Reynolds hit was the best of the three homer pitches (Parra hit a fastball). Roberts called the pitches "center-cut," but otherwise had no complaints.
"He was pretty amped up," said Roberts. "You could see the velocity was playing up, throwing sliders 91 [mph]. He was feeling good and that's a good thing. He's going to make mistakes and those guys took advantage of them."
The Dodgers scored on a fifth-inning home run by Alvin Toles off Jon Gray and Adrian Gonzalez's RBI single that cashed in Franklin Gutierrez's pinch-hit double. The Dodgers have scored three runs in two games at Coors Field.
Kershaw was removed for a hitter in the top of the seventh, which ended with Yasiel Puig ruining his leadoff double by getting thrown out trying to steal third base trailing by three runs with Toles at bat. It was Kershaw's first loss to the Rockies since July 12, 2013, a span of 10 consecutive wins.
And he said Coors Field had nothing to do with it.
"People tell you over and over how the ball flies and I just think you have to be better than that -- don't think about it and just pitch," he said. "The balls going out were going out. I like this place, actually. It's fun to come here, a little more of a challenge because of the team than the place."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.