Clayton Kershaw’s start ends as Dodgers lose to Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw is waiting to be taken off the mound.

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts after giving up a two-run triple by Colorado’s Randall Grichuk during the sixth inning of a 5-3 loss Saturday night. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

For five innings Saturday night, Clayton Kershaw navigated both a last-place opponent, high-altitude elements and a rapidly increasing pitch count.

Despite giving up two unearned runs in the first inning, he kept the Colorado Rockies quiet over the next four as the Dodgers took a lead at Coors Field.

In the bottom of the sixth, however, his outing appeared to be just seven pitches away.

The Rockies hit back-to-back singles against his curveball. They pulled ahead with a two-run triple and an RBI single on back-to-back first-pitch sliders.

Suddenly, the Dodgers were behind and manager Dave Roberts was walking to the mound.

Kershaw’s night is over. In an eventual 5-3 loss, the Dodgers would not lead again.

“It was a trophy tonight,” said Kershaw, who gave up five total runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings to raise his ERA to 2.66.

“Overall I thought my stuff was OK,” he added. “He was able to regroup after that [first inning] and get through the next innings quite easily. And then, yeah, that sixth inning, I felt good about it, it kind of got away from me there.”

The first hit was the one Kershaw regretted the most, a curveball to Brendan Rodgers that “probably backfired on him a little bit,” Kershaw said, striking out a pitch in which he had retired 13 of the previous 15 since the start of the second. series.

José Iglesias put runners on the corners in the next at-bat with a low curveball to right.

Then came the two game-changing pitches: a backdoor slider to Randal Grichuk that lined the other side for a two-run triple and a knee slider to Elias Díaz that was driven to left to make it 5- 3.

“The two sliders were probably, I thought, well placed and decent,” Kershaw said. “But maybe I had done the same thing too many times. They give them good swings. Hit them hard. So that was the disappointing part.”

Once we reached the sixth inning it was a challenge for the left-hander, who threw 29 pitches in a first inning that was extended by Max Muncy’s two-out error at third base.

That error, on an Iglesias jumper that glanced off Muncy’s hand and into left field, was Muncy’s third error in the last eight games and one of several balls this weekend that he failed to find.

Roberts, however, played down any defensive concerns about the third baseman.

“He came back, I think, a time or two later and made some really nice plays,” Roberts said. “So Max plays good defense. I know in the last 10 days, there are some projects that I think we’d like him to do.”

The Dodgers (67-33) responded as well.

After opening the scoring in the top of the first on a Will Smith RBI double, they retook the lead with two runs in the third on a Trea Turner home run — using his 16th of the year to snap his hitting streak to 17 games — and a Hanser single Alberto RBI.

The offense rested after that, going scoreless over the final six innings for the second night in a row.

Kershaw, meanwhile, suffered his second rough start against the Rockies (46-56) at Coors Field this year – a place where he now has a personal-worst career ERA of 4.82.

“I just don’t think about it,” Kershaw said when asked about his Coors Field woes. “Just try to make pitches. I won’t let any pitch dictate how I feel about how I pitched. I’m not that mentally weak. You just have to play and if you don’t do well, you have to put up with it.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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