MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Brewers took their chances on the base paths trying to break through against one of the game's best pitchers.
It worked just once on Sunday, not nearly enough times to beat Clayton Kershaw.
The left-handed ace allowed six hits in an eight-inning outing that qualified as a subpar effort for the two-time Cy Young Award winner, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Milwaukee 5-1 to avoid a three- game sweep in a matchup of NL divisional leaders.
"I think anytime you face a pitcher like Kershaw, if you try to just get stagnant, I don't think much is going to happen," manager Ron Roenicke said.
Kershaw (14-2) lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.78 and tied for the National League lead in victories. Adrian Gonzalez drove in two runs, and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth off Jimmy Nelson (2-3).
Kershaw allowed a run and two walks with six strikeouts. He allowed leadoff hitters to reach base in four of the first five innings but benefited from a couple baserunning mistakes and failed aggressive play by the Brewers.
In the third, Nelson wasted his leadoff double after getting tagged out trying to advance from second on a grounder by Carlos Gomez. Later, Gomez was picked off first.
Rickie Weeks hit a leadoff double in fifth. Two batters later, Jean Segura popped up a squeeze attempt caught by a charging Kershaw in front of the plate. He threw to third to easily double off Weeks.
"You can't make mistakes against that guy," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said of the Dodgers ace.
The Brewers staked Nelson to an early 1-0 lead. Gomez walked and stole second before coming home on Ryan Braun's RBI single in the first.
After a strong first couple innings, Nelson appeared to have trouble keeping his sinker down. He allowed eight hits and two runs in six innings.
Nelson could be in line to start against Kershaw again on Friday when the Brewers start a three-game series in Los Angeles. Consider Sunday a learning experience for the rookie.
"I just have to get the ball in the zone earlier in the count and force them to have early swings," Nelson said.
Kershaw extended his winning streak to 11 games, though Sunday's game counted as a struggle for him.
"It was a struggle for him all day long. It felt like he was working hard but he kept battling and giving us chances," manager Don Mattingly said.
DODGERS: Shortstop Hanley Ramirez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right rib cage muscle retroactive to Saturday. Mattingly said the team was being overly cautious, and that Ramirez may need just the minimum time to recover.
BREWERS: Matt Garza, placed on the disabled list on Aug. 5 for a left rib cage muscle strain, won't start throwing again until he is "completely pain free," Roenicke said. He added that Garza will likely need more than 15 days to return.
DODGERS: Dan Haren (9-9) is the scheduled starter Monday in Atlanta, though Mattingly said newly-acquired right-hander Kevin Correia (5-13) would likely make a start to give the rest of the rotation extra rest. Los Angeles is in the midst of a 20-day stretch without a day off.
BREWERS: Milwaukee assured itself of a winning homestand against top NL West teams San Francisco and Los Angeles after taking the first two games against the Dodgers. Roenicke promised the team's focus wouldn't change when a four-game series starts Monday against the last-place Cubs in Chicago. Yovani Gallardo (6-6) gets the start.
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