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Kershaw Can't Stem the Losses as Dodgers Lose Five in a Row

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Things are starting to get dark at Dodger Stadium. There is a 9.2% decrease in overall ticket sales after their seventh home game (324,989 in 2010; 294,723 in 2011.) The Dodgers have lost five of their last six games. So what better remedy for one night than a healthy dose of Clayton Kershaw who seemed ready for the challenge?

“You definitely want to be the guy that can get your team out of it,” Kershaw said. “You want to be the guy who stops the bleeding.”

Well even Kershaw (L, 2-2) fell victim to this pernicious cloud of doom as the St. Louis Cardinals obliterated the Dodgers 9-2.

“Unfortunately I just kept it going,” Kershaw said.

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Apart from retiring the side in order on ten pitches in the first inning, Kershaw’s night can be aptly titled “Man on Wire.”

“It’s just one of those nights,” he remarked.

Kershaw survived the first trip on the wire unscathed after loading the bases in the second inning, and in the third inning gave up only a run with the bases loaded on David Freese’s sacrifice fly.

He settled down a bit in the fourth inning retiring the first two batters but wound up walking opposing pitcher Kyle McClellan (W, 2-0). Ryan Theriot made Kershaw pay for his sins hitting a double to score McClellan - but Theriot being Theriot couldn’t help but run the Cards out of the inning when he tried to advance to third.

“They fought off a lot of pitches,” Kershaw said about his high pitch count. “They battled up there. They just had really good at-bats all night.”

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At this point it wasn’t pretty with Kershaw making 95 pitches through four innings and loading the bases twice, but he only gave up two runs. The Dodgers were still in the game. Well they were until Southern Calfornia native and Dodger fan Allen Craig had his say.

After Kershaw gave up a single to Albert Pujols and a walk to Matt Holliday in the fifth inning, Craig took a hanging slider and deposited into the left field pavilion for his first home run of the season and the fifth of his career.

“I tried to battle my way through it, but the home run did us in,” he said. “That’s the way it goes.”

And so it went at that point with the Cardinals leading 5-1 and Kershaw headed for the showers.

Unfortunately there was an incident during the game that caused home plate umpire and crew chief Joe West to briefly interrupt the game. No, it wasn’t the “thug culture”, the “cholos” or any other hysterical perils real or imagined at Dodger Stadium. During this game the danger came from the foul balls off the bats of the Redbirds.

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In the third inning, Holliday lined a foul ball to the first base seats that struck a Redbirds’ fan. After a slight delay for paramedics to rush to the fan, foul balls from both Holliday and Freese continued to rain. One almost took out the Associated Press reporter in the press box.

During Freese’s at-bat, the fan was carried out on a stretcher to a standing ovation from the crowd. But that ovation was cut short as a section ducked for a foul ball by Freese.

Aside from Ivan De Jesus recording his first Major League hit in the seventh inning, Andre Ethier going 3-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games and Matt Kemp going 2-for-4 for his eighth multi-hit game of the season, there really was nothing for the announced crowd of 31,614 to cheer about.

The bullpen continued to bleed as Mike MacDougal gave up an unearned run in the sixth inning and Ramon Troncoso, just called up from Triple-A Albuquerque after Hong-Chih Kuo was put on the disabled list with a low back strain, gave up a run in the eighth and two in the ninth.

“We can’t let three or four games affect us going forward,” Dodger manager Don Mattingly commented. “We’ve got to make sure we turn the page.”

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LA Kings defeat San Jose Sharks 4-0. I stand corrected. I didn’t give the Kings a shot in hell in winning a game in this series. But like last season their power-play sprang awake in the playoffs - in this game Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty got power-play goals in the first period. Doughty added an even strength goal in the second period and assisted on Kyle Clifford’s third period goal. This marks the first playoff shutout for the Kings since April 25, 2002 when they blanked the Colorado Avalanche in overtime 1-0.

LA Angels defeat Chicago White Sox 7-2. W: Tyler Chatwood (1-1, 3.75 ERA) - 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. L: Gavin Floyd (1-1, 4.29 ERA) - 6 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 3 WP.

Chivas USA tie Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0-0.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

New Orleans Hornets at LA Lakers. Game 1 of first round of NBA Playoffs. 12:30 p.m. ABC, AM 710 KSPN.

LA Angels at Chicago White Sox. 11:10 a.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.

St. Louis Cardinals at LA Dodgers. 1:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators. Game 3 of first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs. 3:00 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.

LA Galaxy at Chicago Fire. 1:00 p.m. Telefutura, FS Prime Ticket (delayed until 5 p.m.), AM 1150 KTLK, AM 1220 KWKU (en español).