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Broken Bats, Broken Hearts for the Dodgers

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After the Dodgers took Saturday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, you figured with Clayton Kershaw pitching today they would have a good chance of winning the series against the team with the best record in the National League. But bloop hits and broken bats broke some hearts as the Cardinals got the 5-3 victory.

"You can't do much about those hits," Kershaw said disappointingly.

Kershaw's off-speed pitches seemed to betray him early on. "He seemed a little out of sync," Mattingly said about Kershaw's second inning troubles. Two walks with a bloop broken-bat double by David Freese sandwiched in between put doubt in a lot of people's minds. But even though the bases were loaded with no outs, if anyone could get out of it Kershaw would be the man.

That's why when Pete Kozma, the eight-hitter, cleared the bases with a double, it caught a lot of us off guard.

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Although Kershaw admitted that he was helpless about the hits, he owned up to the walks. "Obviously you can't walk guys. I walked two that inning. That was definitely my fault there."

It was something we're not used to seeing especially after Adrian Gonzalez with his two-run homer in the first inning gave him some runs to work with.

Kershaw shook it off and even managed to help his cause in the fifth inning. He legged out a one-out infield single, went to second on Carl Crawford's single and scored on Adrian Gonzalez's single.

"I wished I could have made it last a little bit longer," Kershaw said. In the seventh inning Kozma's double glanced off of shortstop Dee Gordon's glove and fell into left field. After striking out Ty Wiggington, Matt Carpenter's bloop shot hit off of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez's glove allowing Kozma to score for the game-winner.

The Cardinals added a run in the ninth inning.

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The recurring theme for the Dodgers is opportunities left uncashed. In the sixth and seventh innings they had the bases loaded with one out and failed to score. In the sixth inning, Mattingly opted to keep Kershaw in the game and ended the inning with a double play. In the seventh inning A.J. Ellis and Skip Schumaker struck out to end the threat.

Matt Kemp was held out of the lineup, a "baseball move" as Mattingly put it. Kemp came in to pinch hit with one out in the eighth inning after Dee Gordon singled and grounded into a double play.

So it wasn't the pitchers' duel we all envisioned. So Kershaw's streak of 22 starts allowing three or fewer runs was broken. So Kershaw's record fell to 5-3. He still leads the Majors with a 1.68 ERA. But Kershaw wasn't about to hear any of that. "Losing hurts no matter what."