It took just two swings to give Clayton Kershaw his first loss since May 28 on Saturday.
The left-hander pitched a complete game and struck out 11 while allowing just five hits, but also gave up two home runs to the Milwaukee Brewers in a 3-2 loss.
The last time Kershaw allowed more than two home runs in a game was April 17, 2013, against the San Diego Padres. This season, Kershaw hasn’t had a month in which he gave up more than two combined home runs. He’s been so dominant that before the game, Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly said that he considers his ace a candidate for the National League MVP award.
For most of Saturday, Kershaw was as good as ever. On his last pitch of the night, he struck out Brewers’ left fielder Khris Davis with a 94-mph fastball. Of his 97 pitches, 71 of them were strikes. The Dodgers had two fundamentally awful errors, but Kershaw stranded them on first both times.
With Yovani Gallardo mowing down the Dodgers’ offense, though, those two homers were all it took to snap Kershaw’s 13-game winning streak.
Kershaw sent the first nine Brewers back to the dugout in order, but Carlos Gomez led off the top of the fourth with a double down the left field line. Two batters later, Ryan Braun came to the plate amidst boos and promptly flipped a high home run to right field. The ball cleared right fielder Matt Kemp’s glove by just a few feet.
The second Brewers homer came in the sixth, when Gomez sent the first pitch of the inning into the bullpen in left field. Besides those two pitches, Kershaw did enough to win the ball game.
But Kershaw’s counterpart, Gallardo, shot the Dodgers’ offense down like a bad pick-up line. He had just three strikeouts all night — two of them at the hands of Kershaw — but had only one three-ball count. He forced nine groundouts, needing only 96 pitches to get through eight innings.
Matt Kemp hit a home run that hugged the left field foul pole with no outs in the ninth after the Brewers replaced Gallardo with closer Francisco Rodriguez, which got the Dodgers to within a run. They couldn’t get any player on base, though, and the rally fizzled.
The loss, combined with the San Francisco Giants’ comeback victory earlier in the afternoon, shrunk the Dodgers’ division lead to four games.
Follow Everett Cook on Twitter @everettcookCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun