LOS ANGELES -- Not long after another late-inning collapse by the Dodgers and a 5-2 defeat to the San Francisco Giants on Monday, manager Dave Roberts talked about his talented club.
With the shock of another blown save by the bullpen still hanging in the air, Clayton Kershaw talked about not losing ground to the National League West division leaders.
The Dodgers were doing their best to find the positives, but it was hard to ignore the rubble of another blown save while Kenley Jansen is unavailable with an irregular heartbeat.
Scott Alexander was the latest to fight with the controls of the closer's role, giving up four runs in the ninth inning as a brilliant Kershaw outing went for naught.
Trying to preserve a 2-1 lead, Alexander was a strike away from victory before he loaded the bases and was tagged for a two-run single from pinch-hitter Nick Hundley. Gorkys Hernandez added an RBI single. A fourth run came home on a Player Page for Max Muncy error at first base. The boos grew louder.
"We're too good; we're going to come back and fight," Roberts said. "That's a team over there [in the Giants] that's scratching and clawing. Tomorrow is a new day and we'll be ready to go."
As for who will be called on to potentially save a game on that new day remains to be seen. JT Chargois blew a save Saturday when he gave up a three-run home run to Colorado's Ryan McMahon. The Dodgers lost another game in the ninth inning Sunday when Chris Iannetta walked with the bases loaded in the ninth inning against Dylan Floro.
On Monday it was Alexander, who did not speak to reporters afterward. Alexander gave up his four runs (three earned) on four hits over two-thirds of an inning.
"We're going to have to count on these guys and Scotty has been great all year," said Kershaw, who gave up one run over a season-best eight innings. "Kenley has big shoes to fill. We know that. These guys are a very talented group, guys who we trust and guys that have our backs all season."
The Dodgers' bullpen problems have all cropped up since Jansen went on the disabled list this past weekend. If there was any good news for the Dodgers, it is that Jansen is hopeful to be back earlier than projected, but not before Aug. 20.
Kershaw was once again at his best while facing the rival Giants. He now has a 1.58 ERA in 44 career games (43 starts) against San Francisco, but was left with a no-decision after giving up one run on four hits with nine strikeouts.
The Dodgers' staff ace lowered his ERA to 2.24 since coming off the disabled list June 23. He missed three weeks in June with a lower back strain. He also missed most of May with left biceps tendonitis.
In a pitchers' duel against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, Kershaw took it upon himself to get the scoring started, although he did get some help from the Giants defense.
With Austin Barnes in first base and two outs, Kershaw flicked a Bumgarner pitch toward the left-field line. The ball landed in fair territory, with shortstop Brandon Crawford and left fielder Hernandez colliding on the play.
Barnes was able to score after the collision, but Crawford threw out Kershaw trying to advance to third base. After hitting a fly ball in the fifth inning, Crawford left the game.
Justin Turner added a home run for the Dodgers, his seventh.
Monday's game was the 11th time Kershaw and Bumgarner faced off, the most matchups between any two active starters, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The Giants are now 6-5 in those games. The Giants also took an 8-6 lead in the season series.
Kershaw has a 1.91 ERA in games when the rival aces meet, while Bumgarner has a 2.59 mark in the matchup.
"You know how competitive he is and you know how good he is," Kershaw said. "I think more than anything tonight, it's the situation we're in, in the pennant race. I don't think it's Giants, or Bum or anything like that. You realize there is a little more intensity in the game when it means a little more."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kershaw made sure to keep the momentum that came with the Dodgers' first run of the game. After his bloop hit that scored Barnes when Crawford and Hernandez collided, Kershaw set down the Giants in order. After striking out Austin Slater, he set down Crawford on a fly ball to left field and Hernandez on a groundout to shortstop. Crawford left the game following his out.
Not only was Kershaw's eight-inning outing his longest of the season, it was his longest start since going eight innings on Sept. 24 of last season. In that outing, he also faced the Giants. And just like on Monday, Kershaw gave up just one run, but the Dodgers won that game 3-1 at Dodger Stadium.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Turner's home run went nearly 400 feet in the fifth inning and was his seventh of the season. It also extended his hit streak to eight games. Turner is batting .433 (13-for-30) during the streak with five runs, three doubles and one triple. Monday's home run was his first during the streak and his first since Aug. 2 against the Brewers.
HE SAID IT
"I got fortunate and blooped a ball in and I was just going to keep running. I thought they were both down. Thankfully they were both OK, but it looked, at the time being, I might as well keep running. I don't even know who threw it in, but it was probably not a great idea to keep [running]." -- Kershaw, on trying to extend his double to a triple after Crawford and Hernandez collided.
Left-hander Alex Wood (7-6, 3.58 ERA) is expected to come off the disabled list Tuesday and start against the Giants. Before losing to the Astros in his last start before going on the DL, Wood was 6-0 over his previous eight outings with a 2.61 ERA. He will face off against Giants rookie lefty Andrew Suarez.