LOS ANGELES (AP) — The New York Mets' final road trip before the All-Star break ended with a thud.
Their defense hung Dillon Gee out to dry in his gritty effort against Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, committing three errors that led to six unearned runs.
Kershaw, last year's NL Cy Young winner, didn't need any extra help in his 8-3 victory Sunday night. But the Mets obliged and increased their error total to 63 — the most in the National League.
"We didn't play good tonight. Dillon pitched fine, but we didn't help him," manager Terry Collins said. "We didn't run the bases very well early, we didn't catch the ball, and some walks got in the way along with some bad fielding."
Collins rested first baseman Ike Davis and second baseman Daniel Murphy in order to stack his lineup with all right-handed bats against the left-handed 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 Dee Gordon's grounder was misplayed by Justin Turner in his third start at first base. A.J. Ellis followed with a sacrifice fly.
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 Dodgers' sixth, advanced on Adam Kennedy's ground-rule double and came home with the go-ahead run on James 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 catcher Mike Nickeas mishandled the throw 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."
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.