"I'm fine," he said in a low voice. "Yeah, I mean, it never feels good to lose."
"I mean, yeah, I'm fine," he continued. "It's OK."
For the first time in his eight-year career, Kershaw has lost three consecutive starts, most recently Saturday in the
That's the same number of times he lost in 27 starts last season.
His season record is 5-6.
If it was any consolation, the latest defeat was a reflection of how the Dodgers' played defense, not of how Kershaw pitched.
Of the three runs he gave up over seven innings, only one was earned.
"You really can't ask Clayton to pitch a whole lot better," Manager
The Marlins, who learned earlier in the day that major league home run leader Giancarlo Stanton would be sidelined for four to six weeks because of a broken hand, scored twice in the first inning.
Fielding a single by
Kershaw acknowledged he was partly to blame for Ethier's error, because he was supposed to be backing up third baseman
"I kind of stopped," Kershaw said. "I was going over there and I stopped because I saw it on the ground. I should have just kept going, obviously."
Hechavarria scored on the at-bat that followed, as Kershaw uncorked a wild pitch.
Catcher Yasmani Grandal was mystified by how he failed to block the ball.
"I thought that ball was right under me," Grandal said. "I thought it hit me exactly where it needs to hit. Then it rolls right under me."
The Dodgers were down, 2-1.
Their deficit was extended to 3-1 in the second inning when pitcher Tom Koehler hit a line drive at rookie center fielder Joc Pederson, who dropped the ball, allowing J.T. Realmuto to score.
Mattingly excused the mistake.
"That's that ball that's hit right at you," Mattingly said. "A line drive's probably the toughest one because that ball has the tendency to take off a little bit."
Pederson wasn't as kind in his self-appraisal.
"Just dropped it," Pederson said. "I messed up and I lost the game for us."
The Dodgers closed the gap to 3-2 in the fourth inning when Adrian Gonzalez singled in Howie Kendrick.
Ethier came up next, with two on and no outs. Ethier lined a ball that was heading into right field, only for it to be snagged out of the air by second baseman Dee Gordon.
The Dodgers nearly tied the score in the at-bat that followed.
Grandal hit a hard grounder to the right of Hechavarria, who backhanded the ball and shoveled it to Gordon at second base. Gordon turned the double play to end the inning.
Grandal smiled as he recalled the sequence.
He pointed to a chopper he hit to third base in the seventh inning that resulted in a hit.
"It's funny how baseball is," Grandal said.
With the Dodgers' winning streak about to end at three games, Kershaw could only take satisfaction in small victories, such as his seventh-inning escape.
Gordon started the inning with a double, which was followed by a single by Yelich.
With the runners at the corners, the Marlins had the heart of their order coming up: Hechavarria, Marcell Ozuna and Jeff Baker.
Kershaw struck out all three.