LOS ANGELES (AP) — After his team’s seventh defeat in 10 games and seventh straight against Arizona, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly closed the clubhouse for a postgame meeting.
The Dodgers’ 2-0 loss to the Diamondbacks on Thursday night was their 12th by shutout this season and it dropped them 4 games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West.
“We just listened,” said Clayton Kershaw, who allowed a season-high nine hits in taking the loss. “We all have a ton of respect for Donnie. He knows how to come across to us. He’s been through this before, a lot more than we have, and he’s a good guy to look to for guidance. He just really voiced what needed to be said, and now we’ve got to move on.”
Kershaw (12-8) gave up only Chris Young’s two-run homer in six innings. He struck out nine and walked three but lost for the second time in three starts.
“It’s a loss that we really can’t afford,” Mattingly said. “There’s guys in that clubhouse I trust are going to get the job done. I continue to believe in these guys.”
It didn’t help the Dodgers that slugger Matt Kemp was out of the starting lineup with a stiff left shoulder. Adrian Gonzalez went 1 for 4 with a strikeout and Andre Ethier was 0 for 3 with a strikeout and a walk.
The Dodgers are 2-4 since last Saturday’s blockbuster trade that brought Gonzalez and pitcher Josh Beckett from Boston.
“You get a lot of new guys on paper that give us a great lineup. Talent-wise, I don’t think there’s any denying the kind of talent we have in here,” Kershaw said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and playing, not pressing, and swinging the bats the way we’re capable of and executing pitches the way we’re capable of. It’s not easy sometimes with a bunch of new guys, but there’s no excuses right now.”
The Diamondbacks ended their six-game skid and extended their winning streak over the Dodgers to seven in a row in the opener of a four-game series.
Ian Kennedy (12-11) struck out seven and walked two over 6 1-3 innings, bouncing back from a loss against San Diego in his previous outing. His last six starts against the Dodgers have been decided by three runs or less.
J.J. Putz gave up consecutive singles to Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez to start the ninth before retiring the next three batters for his 27th save in 30 chances. Juan Rivera popped out with runners at the corners to end it.
Miguel Montero led off the fourth with a double — the first of four consecutive hits allowed by Kershaw. Young sent a 2-2 pitch just inside the left-field foul pole for his 14th homer.
Kershaw then gave up a single to Gerardo Parra and was called for a balk by first base umpire Tim Timmons when he made a pickoff throw.
“It was a bad call. No offense to him, but I didn’t balk,” Kershaw said. “He warned me about it earlier in the game and said if I leaned he was going to call a balk. He told me to watch the replay. I watched the replay and it wasn’t a balk. So if he wants to be different than all the other umpires, that’s OK.”
John McDonald followed with a single before the Dodgers got their first out and then ended the inning with a double play.
“If you don’t get runs, you don’t need to give up any, either,” Kershaw said. “Kennedy pitched great and I blinked first.”
Until the ninth, the biggest cheers from the sellout crowd of 54,621 were reserved for Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, who had his first bobblehead night four days after announcing he would return to the booth for a record 64th season in 2013.
NOTES: Kemp’s stiff shoulder was an after-effect of running into the fence at full speed on Tuesday in Denver. … Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his injured right elbow, with Mattingly hopeful it will reveal whether Billingsley can pitch again this season. … Diamondbacks 3B Chris Johnson was out of the lineup with the flu. … The Dodgers reinstated RHP Matt Guerrier from the 60-day disabled list, optioned RHP Josh Wall to Triple-A Albuquerque and transferred SS Dee Gordon to the 60-day DL. Gordon is eligible to be reinstated on Sept. 3. Guerrier is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in seven games, but hasn’t appeared in a game since April 18. He made five rehab appearances at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, posting a 3.00 ERA with five strikeouts and no walks. Wall had made two relief appearances since he was recalled from Albuquerque on Monday, allowing three runs in 1 1-3 innings. … Instead of Scully throwing out the first pitch as announced, 15 of his 16 grandchildren — ranging in age from 5 to 22 and wearing Dodgers jerseys with his name on the back — stood along the third-base line. He handed the ball to them and they passed it along until giving it back to Scully, who flipped it to Mattingly. Scully’s 16-year-old granddaughter, Mackenzie Luderer, sang the national anthem and “God Bless America.”