Clayton Kershaw is again sharp but Dodgers lose to Mets, 2-1

The Dodgers are halfway through their 162-game schedule and Clayton Kershaw has a losing record.

Similar to many of the other games Kershaw failed to win this season, the Dodgers' 2-1 defeat to the New York Mets on Friday night was more a reflection of the team than it was of him.

Kershaw pitched seven innings and gave up only one run. He limited the Mets to five hits and two walks, striking out seven in the process.

Kershaw had only a no-decision to show for his performance and his record remained at 5-6, as the Dodgers collected only three hits in front of a packed house at Dodger Stadium. Closer Kenley Jansen, who gave up the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Plawecki in the ninth inning, was saddled with the loss.

"I've said it before, but it never feels good to lose games you pitched in," Kershaw said.

Kershaw is now winless in his last five starts, even though his earned-run average over that stretch is 2.41. He entered this game on the first three-start losing streak of his career.

"He just has to keep doing what he's doing," Manager Don Mattingly said. "The rest of the guys have to do their part and put some runs on the board."

Is Kershaw's win-loss record a bad sign for the Dodgers?

Not necessarily.

They have a three-game lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West and are 45-36.

Their record at this stage last season: 45-36.

That team went on to win the division.

Their roster has changed significantly since then, as Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon are now playing elsewhere.

The results, however, are more or less the same.

They are batting about what they were batting at this point last season. They have scored about the same numbers of runs.

What's changed is how they are doing it.

The anticipated power outage resulting from the departures of Kemp and Ramirez? Never happened.

The Dodgers have hit 103 home runs. They had 69 in their first 81 games last season.

They are also running considerably less, which was expected in the wake of the trade that sent Gordon to the Miami Marlins.

Howie Kendrick's stolen base in the sixth inning Friday was only their 15th of the season. The Dodgers hadn't stolen a base in their previous 23 games, the longest streak in the modern era of the franchise, which dates to 1900.

Last season, they averaged a steal a game in the first half of the season.

"I feel like we're kind of going one-win, one-loss recently," Kershaw said. "Not the consistent winning streaks and things like that we were accustomed to early, but I think we're doing OK. I think there's a lot more in there."

Their first run Friday night was the result of another home run, as Adrian Gonzalez blasted a second-inning offering from Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard over the center-field wall.

The 1-0 lead was erased in the fourth inning, however.

John Mayberry Jr. led off the inning with a double and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Mayberry scored on a single by Wilmer Flores to level the game, 1-1.

Kershaw didn't allow another run, but the Dodgers didn't score another one for him, either.

Justin Turner led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double to left-center field and reached third base on a groundout to the right side of the infield by Gonzalez. But Yasiel Puig grounded out to first base and Andre Ethier flied out to left field.

Two innings later, the Dodgers had runners on first and second with one out. Gonzalez lined a ball to center field, only for it to be caught by Juan Lagares. Puig ended the inning by striking out. For Kershaw, this was the third consecutive start in which he pitched seven innings.

"I'd like to go eight or nine, but it's better than six, I guess," Kershaw said. "Seven is kind of the low benchmark for me. Eight's really what you shoot for."

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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