He gave up a leadoff walk to former Philadelphia Phillies teammate Jimmy Rollins, a run-scoring double to Adrian Gonzalez and a two-run homer to Howie Kendrick. Just like that, he and the Colorado Rockies were down 3-0 in the first inning Friday night.
Troy Tulowitzki and Charlie Blackmon nearly got the right-hander off the hook with home runs against Kershaw, but the Rockies were held to just two hits over the final four innings on in a 7-3 loss that halted their 6-0 road start.
"A leadoff walk can't happen, and I walked the leadoff guy," Kyle Kendrick said. "They swung the bats pretty well, and I made some mistakes that got hit."
Kendrick (1-2) walked four while allowing six runs and seven hits over 4 2-3 innings, including Howie Kendrick's first National League homer.
"It's pretty funny when you're facing somebody with the same last name," the Dodgers' second baseman and cleanup hitter said. "I faced him before when he was with the Phillies during interleague play with the Angels. We actually swapped jerseys at that time, and we never even planned it. It just happened that way."
The Rockies began this series with a one-game lead over the two-time defending NL West champion Dodgers, after finishing last season 28 games behind them with 96 losses.
Howie Kendrick, who hit all 78 of his previous homers with the Angels in nine seasons, smashed one into the left field pavilion after Rollins stole second and Adrian Gonzalez hit the first of his two RBI doubles.
"It's just another one in the books, I guess. It's cool because it put a couple more runs on the board," the Dodgers' second baseman and cleanup hitter said. "He left a few balls up over the plate for us, and we didn't miss them. We were able to get the guys in who were on base, and that played the biggest part."
Kershaw struck out the side on 16 pitches in the second inning and retired nine of his first 10 batters before Tulowitzki lined a 1-2 pitch into the lower seats in the left field corner to trim the Dodgers' lead to 3-1. It was his first home run of the season and 17th against Los Angeles.
Two batters later, Willin Rosario lined a single through the box that sent Kershaw spinning out of the way. Rosario stole second and tried to score on a two-out single by Corey Dickerson, but right fielder Andre Ethier made a perfect one-hop throw to Yasmani Grandal to get him.
The Dodgers made it 4-1 in the bottom half of the fourth, when Grandal scored on Kendrick's wild pitch to Kershaw after a two-out intentional walk to Joc Pederson.
Blackmon responded in the sixth with his first homer in 61 career at-bats at Dodger Stadium. But Los Angeles extended the margin to 6-3 in the bottom of the inning with RBI doubles by Kendrick and Gonzalez, who is 22 for 40 with 11 RBIs and five home runs in his first 10 games.
Kershaw (1-1) struck out 12 over six innings, while allowing three runs — one earned — and six hits. He is 21-2 with a 1.69 ERA in his last 24 regular-season starts.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner wasn't nearly as dominating against the Rockies as he was last June, when he no-hit them. Nevertheless, the 27-year-old left-hander is 12-2 with a 3.11 ERA in his last 19 starts against Colorado.
"Obviously I threw too many pitches, but it was a little bit better," Kershaw said after his 104-pitch outing.
Dodgers: RF Yasiel Puig sat out his third game with tightness in his left hamstring. His status lies somewhere between late-inning pinch-hitter or possibly landing on the disabled list, which was as specific as manager Don Mattingly could get during his pregame session with reporters.
Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles (1-0) is 0-2 in three starts against Los Angeles, allowing 14 runs in 17 2-3 innings. He comes off a six-inning no decision against the Cubs in which his teammates committed three errors, resulting in two unearned runs.
Dodgers: RHP Zack Greinke (1-0) has allowed only one home run in 51 innings over his last eight regular-season starts. He is 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 13 career starts against Colorado.
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