Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Hiroki Kuroda threw eight scoreless frames, stonewalling an already befuddled Mets offense, as the Dodgers blanked New York, 2-0, in the first of four games at Chavez Ravine.
Kuroda (8-8) scattered five hits with four strikeouts and one walk, lowering his earned run average to 3.48. The right-hander also beat the Mets for the first time in five career starts. Hong-Chih Kuo pitched the ninth for his third save of the season.
“They had a lot of lefties in the lineup and my sinker was working well on them,” said Kuroda.
Matt Kemp went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and two RBI for the Dodgers, who have won two in a row after a six-game losing streak.
Hisanori Takahashi (7-5) was the hard-luck loser, giving up just two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks over seven frames. Jeff Francoeur had two hits in New York’s fourth straight setback, dropping it a half-game behind Philadelphia and into third place in the National League East.
“Offensively, we are still struggling. We just can’t put things together. At some point we have to turn this thing around,” said Mets manager Jerry Manuel.
New York has lost seven of eight to start an 11-game, three-city west coast trip. The offensive statistics bare the brunt of the bad news, as the Mets have been held to four runs or less in 13 straight games, going 3-10 over that span. The Mets have scored seven runs during their current four-game skid.
The Dodgers got all of the runs they needed to the home first as Jamey Carroll walked and scored when Kemp clubbed an 0-2 pitch past Angel Pagan in center for a double.
New York’s biggest threat came in the fifth as back-to-back one-out singles from Francoeur and Chris Carter set up Josh Thole, but Kuroda struck him out looking. The right-hander then intentionally walked Luis Castillo to get to the pitcher Takahashi, who grounded into a force out.
Kemp was at it again in the seventh with a home run that cleared the wall in left-center field.
Kuo walked David Wright with one out in the ninth, but then struck out Ike Davis and retired Francoeur on a ground ball.
Kemp’s home run was his 17th of the season…The Mets are just 5-13 in July after a successful 18-8 June record…Mets outfielder Jason Bay got the night off. Bay is mired in a 4-for-36 slump with just three multi-hit games since June 18…The Dodgers won all three meetings with the Mets at Chavez Ravine last season. Kuo has not given up a run in 16 1/3 innings pitched at home this season.