Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Clayton Kershaw has long been the Dodgers’ ace, taking the mound Monday with a 1.93 ERA and striking out 91 batters this season — but the lineup has had an odd way of showing their appreciation.
The Dodgers have managed to “support” him with a puzzling 2.68 runs per start, leading to a frustrated pitcher who has just five wins.
Monday night showed why.
Kershaw gave up one earned run over seven innings and Yasiel Puig went 3-for-4 just hours after being named the National League Player of the Week, but a costly blown call by first base umpire Clint Fagan and another blown save by Brandon League led to a four-run rally by the Diamondbacks in the ninth to beat the Dodgers 5-4.
Mark Ellis drew a walk in the first inning, and was moved over when Yasiel Puig earned his 14th career hit with a single to right.
Jerry Hairston Jr., who started the game in left field, singled to left center to score Ellis from second, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth inning, after the Diamondbacks had tied the game at one run in the second, Cliff Pennington drilled a two-out liner back to the mound. Kershaw adjusted, stuck his glove out, and made a snag that was reminiscent of Fernando Valenzuela to end the inning.
Puig promptly led off the bottom of the inning with another single, this one to left field.
However, when Hairston singled to right, Puig rounded second and headed for third.
Arizona right fielder gave Puig a taste of his recent medicine when he loaded up and fired to third where Puig was tagged out. After the play, Parra shook his finger towards Puig.
Later in the inning, Juan Uribe broke his bat and hit a high blooper into shallow right center field. Center fielder A.J. Pollock gave chase, but his diving attempt ended up knocking the ball farther into right field, and Hairston was able to score to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Ellis, who previously had nine hits in 19 at-bats against Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley, got his tenth when he smacked a solo shot into left, his third homer of the year, to extend the Dodger lead to two runs.
Parra struck again in the seventh inning when he robbed Tim Federowicz of an extra-base hit with a sensational catch at the wall. Parra tracked the ball all the way to the bullpen, and leaped up to prevent it from going off the top of the wall. Parra went down, but didn’t appear to be too shaken up from the play.
Yasiel Puig singled on the first pitch his saw in the bottom of the eighth, his third hit of the game, to load the bases. After Puig reached base, Matt Kemp could be seen in the dugout smiling.
Puig’s 16 hits through eight games marks the most ever by a Dodger, with Gibby Brack, who hit 13 through eight games in 1937, in second.
Hairston grounded to third in the next at-bat, with Mark Ellis being thrown out at home.
First base umpire Clint Fagan then made a call at first base that could only be described as atrocious. Hairston reached first base about four feet before the ball ended up in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt’s glove.
Hairston was called out, and the Dodgers ended up getting no runs out of the promising inning after Andre Ethier flew out.
Replays showed how far off Fagan’s call was — even Vin Scully commented on the blown call.
Mattingly’s objection had no effect, and the Dodgers went to the ninth inning with a historically shaky 3-1 lead.
Brandon League came in to close the game, and gave up a one-out single to Martin Prado, putting no other than Gerardo Parra at the plate to represent the potential tying run.
Parra smacked a deep ball to left center that went off the wall for a double, Prado was held at third, and the tying run was in scoring position with one out.
Jason Kubel then hit a ball to the hole in right. Ellis was able to smack the ball down, which kept the tying run on third after Prado scored, and the Dodger lead was 3-2 with one out in the ninth.
League then walked Didi Gregorius to load the bases, and A.J. Pollock, who had only grounded into four double plays this year, came up to the plate.
Pollock popped up to shallow center, and Ellis again held the runner at third, as Willie Bloomquist had a final chance.
League then gave up a single to Bloomquist that not only scored the tying run, but the go-ahead run, and the Diamondbacks took a 4-3 lead.
League was finally pulled from the game, and the boos at Dodger Stadium had seldom been louder. It was the Dodgers’ 13th blown save of the year.
Whether the boos were for the blown call by umpire Clint Fagan, which proved to be costly, or for Brandon League, or both, Dodger fans made the ball park crows sound like a Friday night sellout.
Juan Uribe led off the bottom of the inning with a home run to right.
Tim Federowicz then reached second when Parra was unable to make the grab after stretching for the fly ball, then it was the Dodgers who had the tying run on second with no outs.
Skip Schumaker laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line, and Prado missed the ball on his approach, as Schumaker reached first safely, and the Dodgers had runners on the corners with no outs.
Nick Punto swung on his first pitch and popped the ball up to shallow left, where Cody Ross made the grab and kept Van Slyke, running for Federowicz, at third.
Mark Ellis struck out swinging at a high fastball, and then it was all up to Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, however, grounded back to the pitcher to end the game.
And so, with the tying on third with no outs, in prime 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers fashion, the Dodgers lost 5-4.
Yasiel Puig was on deck.