LOS ANGELES (AP) -Matt Kemp wanted to play a mistake-free game in the worst way, after getting criticized for his defense and base-running earlier this week by general manager Ned Colletti on the radio while the team was in New York.
Instead, the center fielder misplayed Ryan Doumit's hit into a two-run triple, and that was all the help Brian Burres needed Thursday night to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw (1-1) walked his first two batters of the game, and both scored when Doumit's sinking liner got past Kemp with two outs as he tried to backhand it on the short hop.
``I just missed it. I should have caught the ball,' said Kemp, who won his first Gold Glove last season. ``It was one of those in-between hops. You either try to catch it or back off of it and let one run score and keep that other runner at third base. I should have kept it in front of me. I can't make any excuses.'
Burres (1-1) combined with two relievers on a four-hitter. He allowed four hits over 5 1-3 innings with four walks and three strikeouts.
The Pirates have won three straight following a seven-game skid.
``That's the ups and downs of an early season,' reliever Jack Taschner said. ``We were flat for a little bit there, but we've started to show some life. It helps when you put up a couple of runs early. It's easier to keep things rolling than to kick-start it. So hopefully, we can keep this rolling.'
The game-time temperature was 66 degrees, but Northwest winds were blowing at 14 mph with gusts up to 24 mph toward right field resulted in a wind chill OF 41 degrees. When the teams met three weeks ago in Pittsburgh, the temperature was an un-April-like 80 degrees.
``I knew the conditions tonight were going to make it tough to score runs, with the wind blowing like that, so getting the two runs in the first inning was huge,' Burres said. ``When I was warming up, I felt pretty good and I thought I had a pretty good shot at throwing OK tonight. My defense did a great job and I made some good pitches when I needed to.'
Taschner took over for Burres and retired all eight batters he faced without allowing a ball out of the infield.
``It makes it a lot easier out of the bullpen to follow up a guy that's been pounding the zone and established the plate,' Taschner said. ``Brian kept moving the hitters in and out and he had good stuff, so all you have to do is stay down in the zone and you're going to have success. But all of the credit goes to him.'
Evan Meek pitched a perfect ninth for his first major league save while manager John Russell rested regular closer Octavio Dotel, who has been scored on in each of his last six appearances.
``Dotel's thrown a lot, and he threw two innings yesterday, so you just can't keep running him out there day after day,' Russell said. ``You've got to make sure that you protect him. Evan was the freshest guy we had in that situation, and he's been throwing the ball well. So it wasn't a hard decision.'
Burres escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth when he retired Jamey Carroll on a fielder's choice grounder, but was pulled after issuing a pair of one-out walks.
``We had a couple of chances to get some runs, but we couldn't get that big hit,' Kemp said. ``Everybody's going to hit a little wall. We're just hitting ours a little early and getting it out of the way.'
The loss was the fifth straight for the two-time defending NL West champs, matching their longest skid of last season. The Dodgers have been shut out in three of their last five games.
``I don't know why people are panicking. There's 140 games left,' Kemp said. ``We've got a long ways to go, and a lot of time to work out the kinks and the things that we need to work on, and that's what we're doing right now. It's going to happen. We're going to turn this thing around. No need to panic. Put the cap on the panic button. We've got 140 games to make up five games. That's very, very possible.'
The Dodgers (8-14) are actually six games behind the Padres (14-8) in the NL West.
Kershaw allowed three hits over 6 1-3 innings, striking out seven and walking four. Manager Joe Torre tried to get his 22-year-old lefty through the seventh, but had to yank him after he walked Taschner with his 117th pitch. Kershaw has given up no more than two runs in any of his past four starts.
Carroll again started at shortstop in place of Rafael Furcal, who missed his third straight game with a left hamstring strain. He was examined by team Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Thursday and received a platelet-rich plasma injection to promote healing.
NOTES: Doumit's triple was his fourth in the majors and first since Aug. 11, 2007. ... Torre selected RHP Carlos Monasterios to make his first big league start Saturday. Monasterios, who has made seven relief appearances this season, started 60 games during his five seasons in the minors.
The Associated Press News Service
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