By Beth Harris, AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES — Even Clayton Kershaw couldn’t revive the wilting Dodgers.
Nolan Arenado hit a three-run homer off a laboring Kershaw and the Colorado Rockies won 9-1 on Thursday night, sending Los Angeles to its seventh straight defeat and 12th in 13 games.
The NL West leaders haven’t lost that many since May 2013, when they dropped eight in a row. Their 92-48 record is still baseball’s best, but they continue to founder with the playoffs approaching.
The Dodgers’ division lead fell to 10 games over idle second-place Arizona.
“It’s bad right now,” Kershaw said. “Thankfully we did win so many games early so we have a little bit of a lead right now.”
Coming off a three-game sweep by the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers were hopeful Kershaw (16-3) could stop the slide like he did last week when he snapped their five-game skid with a 1-0 victory at San Diego.
Instead, he got yanked after 86 pitches.
“We made him work,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “That was maybe the first time I’ve seen him in that sort of pitch count situation, and I’ve seen him a lot over the years.”
The Rockies pounded out 16 hits — most allowed by the Dodgers this season — and took full advantage of Los Angeles’ faltering bullpen that surrendered five runs. Fans booed Josh Ravin when he gave up back-to-back bases-loaded walks in the seventh as the Rockies batted around.
“I don’t want to get all dramatic here but you can make the argument that that was our biggest win of the year,” Arenado said. “Just a big win, coming to L.A. after a tough loss last night, getting in late and just winning like that.”
Kershaw struggled through his second-shortest outing of the season, allowing four runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out seven, walked three and had a wild pitch.
“When he took the mound we expected to win,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Our guys are upset right now, they’re frustrated. A few weeks ago it seemed like there was nothing we could do to lose a game.”
Kershaw opened by giving up four consecutive hits, including Arenado’s homer that quickly put the Dodgers in a hole.
“I picked a really bad time to have a bad night,” the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner said.
Kershaw’s woes continued in the second after getting two quick outs. He walked Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu reached on an error by shortstop Chris Taylor and Kershaw walked Arenado to load the bases. He finally got Mark Reynolds on a swinging strike to end a seven-pitch at-bat and spoil the threat.
Kershaw found trouble again in the third. Gerardo Parra singled leading off and Trevor Story followed with a ground-rule double that Yasiel Puig couldn’t catch in the dirt along the right-field line. Parra scored from third on Jonathan Lucroy’s sacrifice fly, making it 4-0.
Kershaw issued a leadoff walk to Blackmon in the fourth and two batters later manager Dave Roberts removed his ace in his first start at home since July 23. The left-hander went on the disabled list with a back issue after that and didn’t return until last Friday in San Diego.
Kershaw slammed his glove into the dugout wall and yelled before sitting down with his head bowed. He had made 16 straight starts without a loss since May 6, and the Dodgers had won every game.
Now, they’ve been outscored 28-3 and struck out 35 times so far this week.
“We don’t think that we’re a bad team,” Kershaw said. “We won that many games in a row for a reason and we played that well for that long for a reason. We are a very good team, we know that, but we’re not showing it right now for sure.”
Colorado’s Jon Gray (7-4) allowed one run and four hits in six innings, struck out three and walked two.
The Rockies increased their lead to 6-1 in the fifth on a passed ball by Yasmani Grandal and Lucroy’s RBI single.
Carlos Gonzalez’ homer highlighted a three-run seventh.
LeMahieu singled in the first, extending his hitting streak to 15 games, second-longest in the majors.
Puig’s RBI double with two outs in the fourth was the Dodgers’ lone run.
Walker Buehler allowed one hit and struck out two while tossing two scoreless innings of relief in his major league debut. The Dodgers’ top prospect had his contract selected a day earlier from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He topped 100 mph a couple times on the radar gun. He said he had mixed emotions making his debut during the Dodgers’ skid. “I just happened to come at this time,” he said. “I don’t think I’m any kind of spark plug.”
Rockies: Reinstated C Ryan Hanigan from 10-day DL (left groin strain).
Dodgers: 1B Adrian Gonzalez had an epidural for pain relief in his lower back and will be out a couple days. Roberts said Gonzalez has done it before this season and his back responded each time.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (10-6, 4.26 ERA) makes his first career start against Los Angeles. The rookie is 1-4 with a 5.36 ERA in eight starts against NL West teams. He is 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 road starts, with the Rockies going 6-6 in that span.
Dodgers: RHP Yu Darvish (8-11, 4.09) faces the Rockies for the first time in his career. In his last start, he allowed five runs and eight hits to the Padres in three innings, the shortest outing of his career.