LOS ANGELES (AP) - For a change, Clayton Kershaw was outpitched in a low-scoring game.
The reigning NL Cy Young winner sat in the dugout in stunned silence while Lucas Harrell and the Houston Astros' stubborn bullpen kept the Dodgers' offense at bay.
Harrell took a shutout into the eighth inning, and the Dodgers got their only run on Wilton Lopez's bases-loaded walk to Jerry Hairston Jr. in a 3-1 loss on Friday night. It was the third time this season that they scored fewer than three runs when Kershaw started, and he is 0-2 in those outings.
``That's not my concern. My job is to put up zeros every inning,' said Kershaw, who was coming off a six-hit shutout of the St. Louis Cardinals last Saturday. ``I didn't have as great a command as I would have liked, but overall I thought I pitched OK - just a couple of mistakes here and there. Unfortunately for me, I gave up a homer, and that'll kill you. You don't want to give up runs.'
Kershaw (4-2) was charged with three runs - two earned - and five hits over seven innings with six strikeouts on the fourth anniversary of his major league debut. He came in with a streak of 22 scoreless innings before the Astros ended it with an unearned run in the first.
Jose Altuve opened the game with one of Houston's four doubles off Kershaw and legged it home when second baseman Herrera made a wild relay throw trying to complete a potential inning-ending double-play on Carlos Lee's grounder to third base. Martinez made it 3-0 in the third with his fourth homer, following a double by Jed Lowrie.
``Martinez hit a good pitch. I shouldn't have been behind in the count, obviously,' Kershaw said. ``I guess I just threw one too many of the same pitch. But he did a good job with it, hit it out and it cost us the game.'
The 24-year-old left-hander worked with runners on base in each of the first five innings and gave up five extra-base hits, equaling a career worst. On April 24, 2010, he gave up four doubles and a triple in a six-inning no-decision at Washington.
``He got behind in the count a little bit and had to battle,' manager Don Mattingly said. ``He didn't seem as sharp as usual, but typical Clayton, he just keeps battling and fighting through whatever it is.'
Harrell (4-3) scattered five singles, walked three and did not strike out a batter during the longest of his 15 big league starts.
``Getting ahead in the count definitely worked to my advantage,' Harrell said. ``My sinker was working good, so I was trying to get early contact and a lot of groundballs and it worked out for me. I'm not a big strikeout guy, so when I get a lot of contact, I usually go deeper into the game.'
The 26-year-old right-hander, facing the Dodgers for the first time, allowed only two runners as far as second base and got 17 of his outs on groundballs - including all three outs on comebackers to the mound in the seventh inning.
``I think the advantage is in the pitcher's hand, but we've done it enough this year where it shouldn't be that big of a deal,' said Tony Gwynn Jr., who hit three grounders in four at_bats against Harrell in the leadoff spot.
Harrell departed after giving up a one-out single to Elian Herrera. Wesley Wright gave up a walk to Bobby Abreu and a single to Andre Ethier before Lopez walked Hairston on four pitches to force in a run. But Ivan DeJesus struck out against lefty Fernando Abad as a pinch-hitter for James Loney, and Fernando Rodriguez retired A.J. Ellis on a flyball.
Brett Myers pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save in 13 chances, nailing down the Astros' fourth straight victory.
The Dodgers came in with a 19-4 record at Chavez Ravine, which matched their best home start in franchise history. They also won 19 of their first 23 home games in 1980, when they beat the Astros in the final three games of the regular season at home to force a one-game playoff - the Astros won.
NOTES: Dodgers CF Matt Kemp, sidelined since May 14 because of a left hamstring strain, is expected to begin a two-game rehabilitation assignment with at Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday and is eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday. ... Dodgers 2B Mark Ellis, whose MRI on his left knee was delayed because of an infection that could have cost him his leg, has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and a bone bruise. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks. ... Hairston, who missed 16 games with a left hamstring strain, was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. INF Justin Sellers was placed on the DL, retroactive to May 23, because of a bulging disc in his lower back. ... Kershaw, who led the NL with 248 strikeouts last season, fanned Harrell in the second inning for his 800th in the big leagues.
The Associated Press News Service
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