PHOENIX — Adrian Gonzalez spoke softly as he looked down at the clubhouse floor.
“I’m just letting the team down,” he said, taking a deep breath.
Clayton Kershaw was back on the mound, Matt Kemp was back in center field and the team held a players-only meeting before its game Tuesday, but nothing changed for the Dodgers.
Gonzalez took a called third strike with Shane Victorino on second base for the final out of the Dodgers’ second consecutive shutout defeat, a 1-0 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
The Dodgers, who wasted seven magnificent innings by Kershaw, fell to a season-high six games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West. They stayed a game back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second of two wild-card spots.
There wasn’t a player in the Dodgers’ clubhouse more visibly upset than Gonzalez, who was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
“The most frustrating part is that I feel so good,” he said. “When it comes to the result, it’s not there. This is a result-driven game. The results need to be there. It’s not just having a good at-bat or making a good swing. It’s about getting on base, driving a run in.”
Gonzalez is now hitting .227 in 16 games with the Dodgers.
“I had pitches all game,” he said. “I just keep fouling them back.”
Gonzalez was part of a group of players who took early batting practice at Chase Field.
He was particularly bothered with his final at-bat, against Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez. He fouled back the first two pitches, one clearly a ball and another a borderline strike.
“It should have been 2-0,” he said. “It shouldn’t have been 0-2.”
Gonzalez shook his head.
“You look at my season, it’s been just like this all year,” he said. “I get hot for a couple of weeks and I’ll go through periods where I just keep missing pitches. This ain’t the time to have that happen, you know?”
The Dodgers anticipated they would receive a lift from the returns of their two franchise players, Kemp and Kershaw.
Kemp received a cortisone injection on his ailing left shoulder Saturday and hadn’t played since.
“I can’t say that he’s 100%,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “I’m sure he’s not.”
Kemp struck out in each of his first two at-bats against Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy, who held them to four hits over 71/3 innings.
Kemp doubled in the seventh inning, only for Hanley Ramirez to ground out to end the inning.
Kemp’s greatest contribution was when he threw out Miguel Montero at the plate in the seventh inning on a potential sacrifice fly by Chris Johnson.
Kershaw was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday in San Francisco because of soreness in his hip. He returned in vintage form, holding Arizona to three hits over seven innings. The only run charged to him was unearned, as Paul Goldschmidt reached base in the seventh on a throwing error by Ramirez and scored on a double by Montero.
“They all hurt the same right now,” Kershaw said. “It’s frustrating and everybody’s searching for answers. If we could explain it, we would. But we don’t know.”
The Dodgers came within inches of going up, 2-0, in the fifth inning. Ramirez grounded out to end a 13-pitch at-bat against Kennedy, setting up a double to left-center by Andre Ethier. The next batter, Luis Cruz, hit a ball that appeared to be heading over the left-field wall – until Jason Kubel leaped and snagged it out of the air.
“I thought we had it,” Mattingly said.