PHOENIX (AP) — For three straight starts, Clayton Kershaw has been outstanding — and the Los Angeles Dodgers have lost every time.
The toughest might have been Tuesday night, when the Arizona Diamondbacks used an unearned run to beat the Dodgers 1-0.
Kershaw (12-9) is 0-2 in his last three starts despite allowing a combined three earned runs in 20 innings.
“Three in a row — really good,” Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. “It hurts when he pitches so good and we don’t get a win.”
The Dodgers have lost five of six to drop six games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West. The Giants beat Colorado 9-8 on Tuesday.
Ian Kennedy (13-11) gave up four hits in 7 1-3 innings as the Diamondbacks snapped a six-game home losing streak in their first 1-0 victory of the season. He struck out six and walked none.
Kershaw allowed three hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking three.
The only run came after Paul Goldschmidt reached on shortstop Hanley Ramirez’s throwing error, then scored when Miguel Montero doubled to right-center.
“I blinked first tonight,” Kershaw said. “I threw a pitch I shouldn’t have. I didn’t put it where I wanted to and Miguel did a good job with it and made me pay for it. You can’t blink first in those games, and I did.”
The Dodgers were shut out for the second game in a row. They haven’t scored more than three runs in a game in their last six.
“They all hurt the same right now,” Kershaw said. “It is kind of the card that we are dealt right now. We are searching for answers. If we could explain it, we would, but we don’t know. We just have to keep grinding. I know it is all cliche but we have to keep going, just keep playing and see what happens.”
Arizona left fielder Jason Kubel robbed Luis Cruz of a two-run homer with a leaping grab at the wall to end the fifth inning.
“That is just the way it is going right now,” Kershaw said.
Montero said he hit a slider a little over the plate. It was about the only hard-hit ball off of Kershaw.
“That was the best he’s looked in the times we’ve faced him this year,” Montero said. “He had everything going. I ran into one pitch and that was the difference. But his stuff was very, very good.”
Regular closer J.J. Putz, who blew consecutive saves last week, was out with a stiff back, manager Kirk Gibson said, so David Hernandez came on in the ninth. He gave up a two-out double to Shane Victorino, then Adrian Gonzalez struck out looking, staring at home plate umpire Dan Iassogna after the pitch.
Kennedy got big defensive plays from third baseman Chris Johnson and second baseman Aaron Hill. Johnson nabbed Kershaw’s sharp line drive in the sixth and Hill made a lunging grab on Andre Ethier’s liner leading off the seventh.
Kennedy, a 21-game winner a year ago, left after giving up a single to Cruz. Brad Ziegler came on and got a double-play grounder to end the inning. Ziegler has induced major-league best 17 double plays, most by a National League reliever since Jeremy Affeldt’s 18 in 2009.
Goldschmidt reached for the third time when Ramirez’s throw on a deep ground ball bounced in front of first base and Gonzalez couldn’t handle it. Montero followed with the double to deep right-center that easily scored Goldschmidt, who had been picked off at first by Kershaw in the second.
Montero advanced to third on a passed ball and tried to score on Johnson’s fly ball to center. But Matt Kemp’s throw arrived first and Montero was out on a close play, ending the inning.
The Dodgers got a runner to second when Ethier doubled to left-center with two outs in the fifth. On the next pitch, Cruz launched one to deep left but Kubel, backtracking in a hurry, made a leaping grab at the wall to rob him of what would have been a two-run homer, and the game remained scoreless.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going to get out or not but thankfully it hung up a little bit so I could get under it,” Kubel said. “It was fun. I’m just happy it worked out and thankfully it saved us a couple of runs. It could have been 2-1, who knows?”
Kemp doubled with two outs in the seventh but was stranded after Ramirez’s check-swing dribbler to the pitcher.
NOTES: Arizona had last won at home on Aug. 22, when it swept a doubleheader from Miami. … Kershaw leads the NL with 206 strikeouts. … Los Angeles starts Aaron Harang (9-8, 3.75 ERA) in the finale of the brief series while Arizona goes with Trevor Cahill (10-11, 3.98). … Goldschmidt’s single in the fourth was his first hit against Kershaw in 10 at-bats. … Arizona improved to 11-6 against the Dodgers this season with one game remaining.