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Kershaw stung early on wrong end of slugfest

Lefty chased in seven-run second inning; Puig stays hot with HR

PHOENIX -- Clayton Kershaw's disastrous second inning started with four consecutive balls to Arizona left fielder Cody Ross.

His outing ended the same way.

Kershaw, who had walked one batter all season, walked Ross twice in an eventful seven-run second and gave up four extra-base hits in between, to put his team in an early deficit it could not overcome.

The result was an 18-7 loss to the D-backs in a forgettable outing for Kershaw, who lasted 1 2/3 innings, the second-shortest start of his career. The left-hander lasted 1 1/3 innings against the Brewers on May 4, 2010.

"I just got hit hard tonight. I don't know why," Kershaw said. "I left some balls up and they got hits. I can't really make excuses saying they found holes. They hit balls hard and they hit balls in gaps. I just got hit hard tonight."

The 18 runs and 21 hits were the most in franchise history for the D-backs. The Dodgers used six pitchers in the loss, calling on catcher Drew Butera in the eighth.

"It doesn't happen very often, just a great inning to get seven runs off of [Kershaw]," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We haven't really broken out this year and tonight we did. We were patient, and when we got pitches to hit, we hammered them."

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Kershaw cruised into Chase Field with nine strikeouts and zero walks in his last two starts. He had walked only one batter and struck out 25 in 20 2/3 innings this season. The teres major muscle strain that landed Kershaw on the disabled list and on the bench for six weeks was a distant memory.

Yes, Kershaw came into the game with a 3-5 record at Chase Field, a mark that included losses in his last four starts in Arizona, but he still boasted an 8-6 record against the D-backs in his career.

What's more, the Dodgers came into the game with an 8-1 record against the last-place D-backs this season.

None of that mattered.

In the second, D-backs third baseman Martin Prado followed Ross' leadoff walk with a single. One out later, Cliff Pennington hit the first of three triples in the inning to give Arizona a 2-0 lead. Pennington scored the D-backs' third run on Tuffy Gosewisch's single before A.J. Pollock and Chris Owings followed with back-to-back triples to extend the lead to 5-0.

The next batter, Paul Goldschmidt, followed with a double to push the lead to 6-0. Ross stepped in the batter's box and Kershaw's night ended four pitches later. Prado followed with an RBI single against Jamey Wright, who had relieved Kershaw.

"It looked like that inning kept tumbling and [Kershaw] could not do a whole lot with it," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It seemed like he missed a couple of spots and they just kept making him pay. They have a club that swings the bats pretty well."

Arizona sent 12 batters to the plate in the second, and Kershaw was tagged with seven runs on six hits. He also struck out three.

"It's definitely kind of shocking whenever he has an inning like that," Mattingly said. "You're kind of expecting him to go seven or eight and give up two or three runs or less. If you can score, you have a good chance of winning. This was definitely not the norm for us with him."

Yasiel Puig's two-run home run in the third was one of the few highlights on the night for the Dodgers. The homer, his ninth of the season, established a franchise record with an extra-base hit and RBI in eight consecutive games. He also tied the club record with at least one RBI in eight consecutive games.

Puig's home run cut Arizona's lead to 7-2, but the D-backs tacked on two runs in the fourth to push the lead back to seven. The Dodgers also rallied for five runs in the sixth, highlighted by Carl Crawford's three-run home run that cut the D-backs' lead to 9-5 and knocked out Arizona starter Chase Anderson (2-0) from the game.

"We just couldn't stop them," Mattingly said. "The key in these kind of games is if you can make a run and get back in it, you have to be able to throw some zeros in there, and we just weren't able to do it tonight."

Goldschmidt's three-run home run, the first of his two homers in the game, gave Arizona a comfortable 13-7 lead in the seventh. The D-backs also scored four runs in the eighth.

"You are allowed to have bad days, but those have to be salvaged and you got to save your bullpen, at least try to get through five or six on bad days," Kershaw said. "You are allowed to [have bad days], but not like this."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB.
Read More: Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasiel Puig, Drew Butera, Carl Crawford, Clayton Kershaw