As good as Clayton Kershaw was in his last outing, he has now gone nearly a month without winning and still doesn't feel real comfortable.
Kershaw (5-4, 1.88 ERA) is 0-2 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts since throwing a three-hitter to beat Milwaukee 3-1 on May 20. He hasn't endured a longer stretch without winning since going 0-3 in his final 11 starts of the 2009 season.
The former Cy Young Award winner was in line for a victory Monday after allowing one run and six hits over seven innings, but then-closer Brandon League yielded four runs in the ninth of a 5-4 loss to Arizona.
Though Kershaw's line was solid, he again didn't seem to be at his best.
"It was a battle out there," he said. "I didn't have great fastball command. I was 1-0, 2-0 basically the whole night. ... I'm glad I made it through seven."
Manager Don Mattingly pulled Kershaw after 99 pitches, his fewest since April 6.
"When he's really feeling good, he's kind of giving you that `I got it. I got it. I got it,'" said Mattingly, who returns after a one-game suspension for his role in Wednesday's two bench-clearing incidents with Arizona.
"He's just aggressive about it, and as soon as you start walking toward him, he's letting you know (he wants to continue). But (Monday) it wasn't like that."
Kershaw's teammates haven't offered much support, averaging 3.0 runs in his last eight starts as he's gone 2-2 with a 1.99 ERA.
The left-hander hasn't needed much help when facing the Pirates over the past three years, going 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts with one walk and 24 strikeouts. Kershaw defeated the Pirates on April 6, allowing two hits and striking out nine in seven innings of a 1-0 win.
Starling Marte had both hits off Kershaw, but he's missed the last two games with a rib injury and it's unclear if he will play this weekend.
Pittsburgh (40-27) did fine without him Friday, beating Los Angeles (28-38) for the first time in four tries this season with a 3-0 victory. Andrew McCutchen had a two-run double and is 11 for 22 with five RBIs in the last six games for the Pirates, who have won five of seven.
With A.J. Burnett recently going on the disabled list, the Pirates will give Brandon Cumpton his major league debut. The 24-year-old right-hander began the season at Double-A Altoona, then was 4-4 with a 3.31 ERA in 11 appearances - 10 starts - for Triple-A Indianapolis.
"(Cumpton is) a three-pitch guy, a strike-thrower to both sides of the plate. He's a competitor," manager Clint Hurdle told the Pirates' official website.
It remains to be seen if Cumpton is the long-term replacement for Burnett, out indefinitely with a torn right calf.
"No need to get ahead of ourselves," Hurdle said. "We'll give him the ball and see where he can take it. We'll take it one start at a time."
Fellow rookie Yasiel Puig had two of the Dodgers' six hits Friday during their fifth loss in six games. The standout outfielder is batting .487 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 11 games since making his big league debut June 3, but Puig has only one extra-base hit in his last six contests.
Los Angeles has dropped 12 of 15 on the road.
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|June 12, 2013||Yasiel Puig||Day-to-Day||Strained shoulder|
|June 11, 2013||Scott Van Slyke||15-Day DL||Left shoulder bursitis|
|June 08, 2013||Ted Lilly||Day-to-Day||Neck discomfort|
|June 07, 2013||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|June 05, 2013||Ted Lilly||15-Day DL||Neck sprain|
|June 05, 2013||Mark Ellis||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|June 09, 2013||A.J. Burnett||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
|June 06, 2013||Jared Hughes||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 06, 2013||Wandy Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Left forearm tightness|
|June 03, 2013||Phil Irwin||60-Day DL||Right arm fatigue|
|June 03, 2013||Jeanmar Gomez||15-Day DL||Right forearm tightness|
|May 28, 2013||Jose Contreras||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw can't catch a break in the win column. It's a sacrifice he can accept so long as the Los Angeles Dodgers find other ways to get it done.
Juan Uribe singled home Andre Ethier in the top of the 11th inning and the Dodgers edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 on Saturday.
Ethier doubled off Vin Mazzaro (3-1) leading off the 11th then raced home when Uribe's chopper went over the head of third baseman Pedro Alvarez . Nick Punto drove in Uribe with a double to the gap one batter later to provide some insurance.
Peter Moylan (1-0) picked up the win after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 10th. Brandon League , who lost his job as the closer to Kenley Jansen this week, managed the final three outs for his 14th save.
Jansen surrendered a solo homer to Pittsburgh's Travis Snider in the ninth, but the Dodgers recovered to improve to 13-2 in their last 15 games against the Pirates.
"Right now, every win is good," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. "It's what we've been kind of talking about, staying afloat and treading water until we can put together some semblance of a winning streak."
Though Jansen blew the save, there is no plan to switch back to League.
"Kenley is throwing good," Mattingly said. "I don't want to start that up again."
Kershaw scattered three hits over seven innings while lowering his ERA to a National League-leading 1.84, but failed to pick up his first win in three weeks when the Dodgers' bullpen faltered. Kershaw's record remains stalled at 5-4 even though he's allowed three earned runs or fewer 14 of his 15 starts this season.
"You can control what you can control," Kershaw said. "The main thing is giving your team a chance to win the game and we were able to win today."
Ethier finished 3 for 5 with an RBI and Skip Schumaker and Mark Ellis also drove in runs for Los Angeles, which won for just the fourth time in its last 16 road games.
"It's a little disappointing that he didn't get the win because he deserved it," Ethier said of Kershaw. "When you see them score a run in ninth, it's a little sickening feeling that one got away from him."
Pittsburgh's Brandon Cumpton allowed three runs on seven hits in five-plus innings during his major league debut. He struck out five of the first six batters he faced but faded as the game wore on.
The Pirates had a chance to win it in the 10th when Neil Walker smacked a ball down the right-field line with Russell Martin on first. Los Angeles rookie right-fielder Yaisel Puig had trouble with the ball, but Martin was held at third even as Puig's throw went well up the third-base line. The Dodgers intentionally walked Pedro Alvarez and Mike McKenry flew out to right to extend the game.
League, who has blown four saves this season, nearly made it five. The Pirates put runners on second and third in the 11th, but Andrew McCutchen grounded out and Gaby Sanchez hit a sinking liner to left that Schumaker tracked down.
Even with the victory, the underachieving Dodgers remain nine games under .500 (29-38) as the season nears its midway point.
"We've dug ourselves such a big hole that we've got to put some winning streaks together," Kershaw said. "We can talk about it all day but we've got to start doing it."
Kershaw is the third Cy Young winner the Pirates have faced in five days. Pittsburgh beat San Francisco's Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito on Tuesday and Wednesday, knocking both around in the process.
Not this time.
The Pirates went up 1-0 early when Alex Presley doubled leading off and then scored on a fielder's choice. That would be about it. The Pirates put two runners on in the third and sixth innings, but couldn't scratch out a run, giving the Dodgers enough time to figure out Cumpton.
The 24-year-old appeared immune to the nerves early in his big league debut, striking out the side in the first. He retired the first eight batters he faced before walking Kershaw in the third.
The third trip through the lineup, however, proved problematic.
Schumaker drove in A.J. Ellis in the fifth to tie the game before Cumpton unraveled in the sixth.
Adrian Gonzalez led off with a double and moved to third on Hanley Ramirez 's single. Ethier drove home Gonzalez and Mark Ellis hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Justin Wilson to put the Dodgers up 2-0.
Pittsburgh closed within a run in the eighth on an RBI single by Walker, but reliever Paco Rodriguez got Alvarez to ground out meekly to first to end the threat.
Jensen came on in the ninth and blew his first save since inheriting the closer's job from League when Snider took a 2-2 fastball and put it well into the center-field seats for his third homer of the year.
League allowed infield singles to Snider and Jordy Mercer in the 11th but survived.
NOTES: Los Angeles reliever J.P. Howell began his two-game suspension for his role in a brawl between the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks this week. Howell planned to appeal but dropped it on Saturday ... Puig went 1 for 5 and has hit safely in 10 of 12 games since making his debut last month. ... The series wraps up on Sunday. Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole (1-0, 2.84 ERA) faces Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.68 ERA).