LOS ANGELES (AP) _ At the rate the Los Angeles Dodgers were
scoring runs during the past week, Clayton Kershaw didn’t mind
taking them any way he could get them Sunday night.

James Loney had two RBIs, and the offensively challenged Dodgers
parlayed three errors by the New York Mets into six unearned runs
to help Kershaw win 8-3 and snap the team’s season-worst seven-game

“It was a great game for us, to bust out of our losing streak
like that,” Kershaw said. “We needed to score some runs, and we
took advantage of their mistakes. We went through a rough patch,
and hopefully tonight kind of broke us out of it.”

Kershaw (6-4) allowed three runs _ one earned _ and five hits
over seven innings with nine strikeouts and three walks. Last
year’s NL Cy Young winner, named to the All-Star team for the
second straight season just hours before taking the mound, overcame
a pair of costly throwing errors by shortstop Dee Gordon on
back-to-back plays in the third and improved his career record
against the Mets to 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA in six starts.

“Dee knows everybody in this team has his back, and he bounced
back awesome _ the way he came back with a couple of hits and a
couple of stolen bases to get us going offensively,” Kershaw said.
“That’s what you do after you make some mistakes. You just put
your head down and keep playing. Dee showed a lot of character

So did Kershaw. The 24-year-old left-hander has pitched at least
five innings and allowed no more than two earned runs in 87 of his
133 career starts, and is 48-11 with 28 no-decisions in those
games. Last season, he was 21-0 in 24 starts under those
circumstances _ but only 5-3 with two no-decisions this year.

“Wins and losses as a starting pitcher is something you can’t
control. But at the same time, you can control keeping your team in
the game and putting up zeros,” Kershaw said. “As far as evening
out the win-loss record, I don’t know how that works. But it always
evens out if you keep them in the game _ especially on a good team
like this.”

The victory helped the Dodgers avoid what would have been the
Mets’ first four-game sweep against them. New York didn’t get a
baserunner after Ruben Tejada’s leadoff single in the fifth.

Dillon Gee (5-7) was charged with four runs _ two earned _ and
five hits over six innings and struck out four. In his only other
start at Dodger Stadium, the right-hander also was matched up
against Kershaw and lost 6-0 on July 7, 2011.

“I thought Dillon had good stuff,” catcher Mike Nickeas said.
“Unfortunately, he’s kind of been the guy on our staff that has
been a little unlucky. We haven’t played tremendous defense behind
him and we haven’t scored a ton of runs when he’s been out there.
But I think he’s thrown much better than what his won-lost record
shows. And if he keeps doing that, it’ll all even out for him in
the end.”

Mets manager Terry Collins rested first baseman Ike Davis and
second baseman Daniel Murphy in order to stack his lineup with all
right-handed bats against Kershaw. But the plan backfired in the
fifth, when the Dodgers capitalized on two errors by the right side
of the infield into a pair of unearned runs that tied the score at
3 _ without the benefit of a hit.

Ronny Cedeno, starting at second base for only the sixth time
this season, dropped a simple throw from third baseman David Wright
on a potential double-play grounder by Tony Gwynn Jr. after a
leadoff walk to Juan Uribe.

Kershaw advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Uribe
scored when Gordon’s grounder was misplayed by Justin Turner in his
third start at first base. A.J. Ellis followed with a sacrifice

When asked if he was sacrificing defense with this lineup,
Collins said: “I wouldn’t say that with our club. Our right-handed
lineup, they’re pretty good defensively and they can catch the
ball. Justin Turner’s a guy who usually catches everything that’s
hit at him. In Ronny’s case, there’s not a guy with better hands in
the National League than Ronny Cedeno. He was probably just trying
to hurry the transfer to get a double play.”

Juan Rivera drew a leadoff walk in the sixth, advanced on Adam
Kennedy’s ground-rule double and came home with the go-ahead run on
Loney’s grounder to second base _ just his second RBI in a span of
39 at-bats.

The Dodgers blew it open with four runs in the seventh, after
loading the bases with no outs. Rivera hit a comebacker to Miguel
Batista, who tried to start a 1-2-3 double play, but Nickeas
mishandled the throw for the Mets’ NL-worst 63rd error as two runs
scored. Kennedy followed with a sacrifice fly, and Loney made it
8-3 with an RBI double.

“As a catcher,” Nickeas said, “we’re taught to kind of hang
back on those and anticipate a difficult throw _ not that I think
the throw was the problem. I just wasn’t in the best position to
handle it. I think I just came out a little early. The ball caught
me a little and it went off my glove. When you give teams the
ability to get some momentum, it’s tough to gather it back.”

After getting shut out in five of their previous six games and
getting outscored 30-2 during that stretch, the Dodgers ended a
string of 23 consecutive scoreless innings with a two-out RBI
double in the first by Rivera that tied the score after the Mets
got an RBI single from Scott Hairston.

NOTES: Wright finished second in the All-Star fan balloting at
3B _ a whopping 1,610,162 votes behind San Francisco’s Pablo
Sandoval. But he will make his sixth appearance in seven years as a
result of player balloting. Mets GM Sandy Alderson took exception
to the result, writing on his Twitter page Sunday: “Wright vs.
Sandoval: A city of 8 million was outvoted by a city of 800,000.”
… Mets RHP R.A. Dickey, who leads the majors with 12 wins, also
was added to the NL squad by manager Tony La Russa. … Dodgers
injured CF Matt Kemp was voted in by the fans as the NL’s third
starting outfielder, but won’t be able to play because of his
hamstring injury.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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