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Kershaw throws 8 solid innings; bullpen falters as Astros rally to sweep Dodgers with 3-2 win


HOUSTON — The Los Angeles Dodgers remain in first place in the NL West, though they have dropped a season-high five straight games.

So, after the Houston Astros wrapped up a three-game sweep with 3-2 victory in 10 innings on Sunday, ace Clayton Kershaw was asked if the team is panicking.

"I hope we're panicking a little bit," he said. "I think panic's a good thing to a certain extent. It's obvious we've got five weeks or whatever it is, too. So, there's a sense of urgency. Maybe that's better to say than panic. I feel like we've got to start playing like that. Not to say we haven't, but it's definitely time to start thinking that way."

Jason Castro's solo homer in the 10th inning lifted Houston to the victory and wrapped up a series that began with Mike Fiers throwing a no-hitter in a 3-0 win on Friday.

There was one out in the 10th when Castro connected off Chris Hatcher (1-5), launching a 96 mph fastball into the first row of the seats in left field. The play was reviewed and confirmed.

Kenley Jansen, who had converted 17 straight save opportunities, allowed a leadoff single to rookie Carlos Correa in the ninth before the Astros tied it up on a two-out RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez.

Jansen, who has converted 24 of 26 save opportunities this season, isn't worried about the bullpen despite its recent struggles.

"We just have to get it together," he said. "This next month, I'm pretty confident that we will. We'll all step up. You're going to go through stuff like this, but you can't beat yourself up on a one-run lead. You don't have enough room for error."

Luke Gregerson (7-2) allowed one hit in a scoreless 10th for the win.

The Dodgers were swept by the Astros for the first time since May of 2008.

"It's definitely a time where weeks are getting shorter and not many opportunities to make up games," left fielder Andre Ethier said. "So, the urgency is going to have to start creeping in somewhere. You kind of have that feeling. You find a way to get the energy and momentum."

Kershaw allowed seven hits and one run with 10 strikeouts in eight innings for his 10th double-digit strikeout game this season. He is 5-0 in his last nine starts and hasn't lost since June 27.

PHOTO: Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, in Houston.  (AP Photo/Richard Carson)
Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

Chase Utley doubled and scored in the first for the Dodgers. A.J. Ellis did the same in the fifth to make it 2-0.

Jose Altuve had three hits and Correa had an RBI single that cut it to 2-1 in the sixth for the Astros, who remain atop the AL West standings.

Houston rookie Lance McCullers allowed eight hits and two runs with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

Utley doubled with one out in the first inning and took third on a wild pitch. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Turner to make it 1-0.

A double by Ellis came with one out in the fifth inning and two wild pitches by McCullers with two outs allowed him to score and extend the lead to 2-0.

The Astros didn't have more than one hit in an inning until the sixth, when Altuve doubled with one out before a single by Carlos Gomez. Correa's groundball single, which bounced off Kershaw's left foot, scored Altuve to cut the lead to 2-1.

Gomez reached third on a sacrifice fly before ending the inning when he was caught trying to steal home. The Astros challenged the call but it was confirmed.

Yasiel Puig was ejected for arguing with the umpire after he struck out looking for the second out of the ninth inning.


Astros: OF George Springer (broken right wrist) is expected to take batting practice Monday or Tuesday for the first time since he was injured. Springer has been on the disabled list since July 2 and resumed baseball activities Aug. 14. ... 3B Jed Lowrie left the game in the seventh inning with a bruised right thumb.


Dodgers: The Dodgers are off on Monday before beginning a series at Cincinnati on Tuesday, when left-hander Alex Wood (8-8, 3.79) opposes Cincinnati's John Lamb (0-1, 6.35). Wood allowed five hits and three runs for the loss in his last start.

Astros: Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.05) opposes New York's Nathan Eovaldi (13-2, 4.24) when Houston opens a series with the Yankees. Feldman is 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA in six starts since a stint on the disabled list after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

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