LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nolan Arenado hit a three-run homer off a laboring Clayton Kershaw and the Colorado Rockies beat the Dodgers 9-1 on Thursday night, sending Los Angeles to its seventh straight defeat and 12th in 13 games.
The NL West leaders haven’t lost that many since May 2013, when they dropped eight in a row. Their 92-48 record is still baseball’s best, but they continue to founder with the playoffs approaching.
Coming off a three-game sweep by Arizona, the Dodgers were hopeful Kershaw (16-3) could stop the slide like he did last week when he snapped their five-game skid with a 1-0 victory at San Diego.
Instead, he got yanked early.
The Rockies pounded out 16 hits and took full advantage of the Dodgers’ faltering bullpen that surrendered five runs. Fans booed Josh Ravin when he gave up back-to-back bases-loaded walks in the seventh as the Rockies batted around.
Kershaw struggled through his second-shortest outing of the season, allowing four runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out seven, walked three and had a wild pitch.
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner opened the game by giving up four consecutive hits, including Arenado’s homer that quickly put the Dodgers in a hole.
Kershaw’s woes continued in the second after getting two quick outs. He walked Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu reached on an error by shortstop Chris Taylor and Kershaw walked Arenado to load the bases. He finally got Mark Reynolds on a swinging strike to end a seven-pitch at-bat and spoil the threat.
Kershaw found trouble again in the third. Gerardo Parra singled leading off and Trevor Story followed with a ground-rule double that Yasiel Puig couldn’t catch in the dirt along the right-field line. Parra scored from third on Jonathan Lucroy’s sacrifice fly, making it 4-0.
Kershaw issued a leadoff walk to Blackmon in the fourth and two batters later manager Dave Roberts removed his ace in his first start at home since July 23. The left-hander went on the disabled list with a back issue after that and didn’t return until last Friday in San Diego.
Kershaw slammed his glove into the dugout wall and yelled before sitting down with his head bowed. He had made 16 straight starts without a loss since May 6, and the Dodgers had won every game.
Now, they’ve been outscored 28-3 and struck out 35 times so far this week.
Colorado’s Jon Gray (7-4) allowed one run and four hits in six innings, struck out three and walked two.
The Rockies increased their lead to 6-1 in the fifth on a passed ball by Yasmani Grandal and Lucroy’s RBI single.
Carlos Gonzalez’ homer highlighted a three-run seventh.
LeMahieu singled in the first, extending his hitting streak to 15 games, second-longest in the majors.
Puig’s RBI double with two outs in the fourth was the Dodgers’ lone run.
Rockies: Reinstated C Ryan Hanigan from 10-day DL (left groin strain).
Dodgers: 1B Adrian Gonzalez had an epidural for pain relief in his lower back and will be out a couple days. Roberts said Gonzalez has done it before this season and his back responded each time.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (10-6, 4.26 ERA) makes his first career start against Los Angeles. The rookie is 1-4 with a 5.36 ERA in eight starts against NL West teams. He is 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 road starts, with the Rockies going 6-6 in that span.
Dodgers: RHP Yu Darvish (8-11, 4.09) faces the Rockies for the first time in his career. In his last start, he allowed five runs and eight hits to the Padres in three innings, the shortest outing of his career.
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