LOS ANGELES (AP) - Clayton Kershaw struggled, and again the Los Angeles Dodgers failed to provide the necessary run support for their All-Star ace.
The left-hander had won three in a row and brought a 16-inning scoreless streak into Tuesday night's start against the Chicago Cubs only to falter early in a 3-2 defeat.
Kershaw (13-8) gave up two runs - one earned - and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out nine and walked three in his shortest outing since going five innings on April 23 at the New York Mets and third-shortest of the season.
He received two or fewer runs of support for the 15th time in 28 starts this season.
``You're never going to have your best stuff every game, so you've got to figure out ways to get some guys out regardless,' Kershaw said. ``There were too many guys on base, too many walks, too many times behind in the count. Unfortunately, I couldn't go deeper into the game for our guys, but I was just trying to limit the damage.'
Cody Ransom hit Kershaw in the left ankle leading off the sixth, and the pitcher departed the game four batters later after giving up a two-out single to Starlin Castro, who got two hits off Kershaw to end an 0 for 13 career drought against him.
``He's got electric stuff, and to me he's the best pitcher in the game,' said the Cubs' Dioner Navarro, who was Kershaw's personal catcher when he was with the Dodgers two years ago. ``We got his pitch count up a little bit. It was a great group effort.'
After losing 6-2 against Zack Greinke in the series opener, the Cubs caught Kershaw on an off-night although his major league-leading ERA remained at 1.72.
``He threw a lot of pitches in that first inning and they fought him pretty good,' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ``Even on some of the strikeouts he got, they fouled off some balls. He just wasn't quite as sharp as he's been.'
Mattingly said Kershaw's ankle wasn't an issue.
``He was probably mad that he got hit and mad that I was out there making a fuss over him,' he said.
Travis Wood outpitched Kershaw in the matchup of All-Star lefties, and Navarro and Castro had run-scoring singles to help the Cubs snap an eight-game skid against first-place Los Angeles.
Wood (8-10) allowed one unearned run and five hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked two for his first victory since July 28 at San Francisco.
Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth to earn his 27th save in 32 chances.
The Cubs, who had lost eight of 10, ended their longest slide against Los Angeles with their first win at Dodger Stadium since 2011.
Navarro's RBI single scored Wood, who singled leading off the third.
Los Angeles trailed 3-2 in the eighth on Andre Ethier's RBI single up the middle. The Dodgers had the tying and go-ahead runs on base, but pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Cubs made it 2-0 in the sixth on Castro's RBI single. Ransom's single to third bounced off Kershaw's ankle, and Darnell McDonald walked. Cole Gillespie struck out before Ransom took third on Kershaw's wild pitch. He struck out Wood and then Castro singled.
Chicago extended its lead to 3-1 in the seventh on pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic's double-play groundout that scored Navarro, who singled leading off.
The Dodgers closed to 2-1 in the sixth on Juan Uribe's RBI single with two outs that scored Hanley Ramirez, who singled and took second on Wood's throwing error.
Notes: The Dodgers dropped to 19-13 in one-run games, including a 12-5 mark at home. ... Kershaw is three strikeouts from posting his fourth straight 200-strikeout/200-inning season. ... The announced sellout crowd of 52,326 made the Dodgers the first major league team to surpass 3 million for the season. It is the quickest the club has reached that mark since 2008, when it also did so on Aug. 19 in the 67th home game. The Dodgers have totaled 3,048,474 in attendance. ... Chicago natives Bob Newhart and John C. Reilly attended the game.
The Associated Press News Service
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