Kershaw (0-1) struggled somewhat, throwing 104 pitches in five innings, allowing two runs and five hits with five strikeouts and four walks. Three of the five hits allowed were of the infield variety and only Jeff Baker's two-run home run in the second inning was hit hard.
Colorado, who broke a nine-game losing streak in the second game of the series, took 16 of his 25 pitches in the first inning to get a read on his delivery. Nine of them were called strikes.
Manager Clint Hurdle pointed out, "We were going to try and work counts as long as he was out there, try to elevate his pitch count and try to get him out of there by the fifth inning.
"He threw strikes and we had to hit in some down counts, but that's what we committed to today. We wanted to get some good looks because he was a guy we haven't seen before."
Kershaw had no-decisions in his first two starts, allowing two runs in six innings against the Cardinals in his debut on May 25, then four runs in 3.2 innings against the Mets last Friday. The Dodgers ended up winning both those games.
Colorado starter Aaron Cook pitched even better than Kershaw, working eight innings without letting a ball be hit out of the infield in the air until the seventh inning when he gave up a pair out fly balls to the center fielder. He allowed only one man past first base.
Blake DeWitt grounded a single up the middle in the second, then Juan Pierre (3rd), James Loney (5th), Chin-Lung Hu and Matt Kemp (6th) all had infield hits. Delwyn Young looped a single to left in the eighth, Cook's final inning.
Kershaw allowed an scratchy infield hit that DeWitt couldn't handle, then Jeff Baker, on the 10th pitch of his at bat, drove a shot into the left field seats for his first home run and the winning margin.
The Dodgers scored in the sixth when Hu scuffed one down the third base line and beat it out, breaking an 0-for-22 slump. He was bunted to second, moved to third on Pierre's grounder and scored when Kemp's bad-hop single ate up shortstop Omar Quintanilla.
Those were the only offensive threats either team could muster.
Chan Ho Park's rejuvenation continues to be a great story. He relieved Kershaw and struck out six in three innings, including his first four batters, dropping his ERA to 2.12. Along with Joe Beimel and Jonathan Broxton, the trio held Colorado to three harmless singles over the final four innings.
"We haven't been swinging the bat, but that certainly takes nothing away from what Cook did," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Yeah, it is frustrating. We're putting a great deal of pressure on our starters because of the way we haven't been swinging the bat. You hate to waste all this good pitching."
"He's still trying to control the situations, and himself," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said of Kershaw. "That's what the game's about -- being able to make adjustments within a pitch or two. His stuff's obviously there. You just hate for one pitch to be the determining factor of a game. Unfortunately, that was the way it was today."
Colorado first baseman Todd Helton was impressed. "He had really good stuff. He had a good fastball and a big league breaking ball. He's going to be good."
The unlucky Dodgers will now face four games against the team with the best record in the majors and who swept them recently in Wrigley Field.
The Chicago Cubs lead the majors in team batting average, team on-base percentage and runs scored. For the first time in their last nine games, the Cubs couldn't rally in a 2-1 loss at San Diego. For the first time in their last 26 games, they didn't have the lead. And, for the first time in 10 games, they lost.
The only luck the Dodgers have had is the fact the Diamondbacks have had their own problems lately and spent the past three days getting swept at Milwaukee. Arizona also has dropped 10 of 13.
If either the Dodgers or the DBacks had split their last dozen games they would have built themselves a comfortable league lead.
Pitching matchups for the Cubs Series:
Thursday RHP Ryan Dempster (7-2, 2.75) vs. RHP Chad Billingsley (4-6, 3.29)
Friday RHP Sean Gallagher (3-1, 4.55) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (2-5, 3.93)
Saturday RHP Carlos Zambrano (8-1, 2.51) vs. RHP Derek Lowe (3-5, 4.17)
Sunday RHP Jason Marquis (3-3, 5.02) vs. RHP Brad Penny (5-7, 5.45)
Following Chicago's lone trip to L.A., the Dodgers will enjoy their first off day in 18 days on Monday, and then leave again on a nine-game, 10-day road trip.
Score by innings Colorado 020 000 000-2 Los Angeles 000 001 000-1 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Pierre lf 4 0 1 0 .283 Kemp cf 4 0 1 1 .310 Ethier rf 4 0 0 0 .296 Martin c 0 0 0 0 .310 Loney 1b 3 0 1 0 .281 DeWitt 3b 3 0 1 0 .293 Maza 2b-ss 3 0 0 0 .220 Hu ss 2 1 1 0 .167 Sweeney ph 1 0 0 0 .111 Kershaw p 1 0 0 0 .000 Park p 0 0 0 0 .000 Young ph-2b 1 0 1 0 .297 Totals 29 1 6 1 Colorado 33 2 8 2 RBI- Kemp (32). CS- Pierre (6). LOB- Los Angeles 3, Colorado 8. DP- Maza and Loney; Hu, Maza and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Kershaw (0-1) 5.0 5 2-2 4 5 4.91 Park 3.0 2 0-0 0 6 2.21 Beimel 0.2 1 0-0 0 0 1.45 Broxton 0.1 0 0-0 0 0 4.88 T- 2:48. Att- 36,393.White Sox Sign Loaiza
Esteban Loaiza cleared waivers, was released by the Dodgers and was quickly signed by the Chicago White Sox, for which he won 21 games in 2003. The Sox will pay a prorated share of the major-league minimum, about $260,000. Los Angeles owes a little less than $5 million this year, the prorated share of $7 million, plus the $375,000 buyout of Loaiza's $7.5 million option for next season.
Slow Start-- Including yesterday's 2-1 loss vs. Colorado, the Dodgers have lost 10 of their last 13 games beginning May 23. Los Angeles has scored one or no runs in eight of those games, and have scored 33 runs in all in that span for an average of 2.5 runs per game. The Dodgers are hitting .231 (100-for-432) during the stretch. The Dodgers rank 12th in the NL with 257 runs scored. Arizona leads the division and ranks third in the league with 291 runs scored.
No. 1 Picks-– The 2008 First-Year Player Draft is slated for today and Friday, (and we'll bring you each selection as it happens) and the Dodgers have the 15th overall pick after finishing the 2007 season with an 82-80 record. Here's a look at the last five first-round selections made by the Dodgers
Year Player Pick HS/College 2007 RHP Chris Withrow 20th High School (TX) 2006 LHP Clayton Kershaw 7th High School (TX) 2005 No first-round selection (RHP Luke Hochevar was selected 40th overall) 2004 LHP Scott Elbert 17th High School (MO) 2003 RHP Chad Billingsley 24th High School (OH) 2002 1B James Loney 19th High School (TX)Each of the Dodgers' last four first-round selections have been high school pitchers, including two who are on the active roster in Kershaw and Billingsley. Elbert, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder last June, recently joined Jacksonville after beginning the season at Extended Spring Training. Withrow started the 2008 campaign in Extended after making six appearances (four starts) with the Gulf Coast League Dodgers in 2007.
Four Loon All-Stars-- The Dodgers' Great Lakes affiliate in Midland, Michigan, will have four representatives on the East Division team at the 2008 Midwest League All-Star Game, to be played on its home field of Dow Diamond. OF Andrew Lambo will get the start, while C Kenley Jansen, RHP Steven Johnson, and RHP Miguel Ramirez are reserves. The game is scheduled for June 17.