LOS ANGELES -- The slumping Los Angeles Dodgers held a players-only, closed-door meeting before their series finale against the New York Mets, then went out and put a stop to their five-game skid.
"It's so cliche. Now guys have a meeting and you go out and win," Tony Gwynn Jr. said after the Dodgers won 6-0 Thursday night. "It definitely wasn't rah-rah. You can very easily fall into accepting losing. The meeting was called so it didn't get to that point."
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Clayton Kershaw scattered five hits over eight innings and the Dodgers parlayed extra-base hits by Matt Kemp, Juan Uribe, Aaron Miles and Dioner Navarro into a five-run sixth inning that ended the Mets' four-game winning streak and kept them from sweeping the Dodgers for the first time in four games at Chavez Ravine."It felt really good, especially with the stadium packed," said Kemp, who spoke at the meeting. "We'd been seeing a lot of yellow seats out there."Kershaw (9-4) struck out nine and walked two in his last start before the All-Star break. The left-hander, who will pitch in his first All-Star Game next week in Phoenix, came within one strikeout of his fourth straight double-digit game, something that hadn't been done by a Dodgers pitcher since Hideo Nomo in1995."We definitely needed a win. We hit well, played defense well," he said. "Everybody is a little bit happier. Maybe this will spark us back to the good old days."Kershaw got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth by striking out Ronny Paulino to end the inning after getting a visit from manager Don Mattingly.
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"When we had the bases loaded, he threw me a filthy curveball on a 2-2 count after throwing me four fastballs about 94-95," Paulino said. "He's a power pitcher and he knows how to pitch in and out and use his changeup and curve when he has to, even behind in the count. He's tough to guess against, so you have to focus on getting good pitches to hit and hope he'll make a mistake that you can take advantage of."The crowd cheered when Kershaw stayed in the game."I've blown the game twice when he's come out and left me in. I was due," Kershaw said. "I threw too many pitches in the eighth and labored a little bit. My fastball command wasn't that good, so it was definitely good to get out of it."The Mets loaded the bases again in the ninth against Kenley Jansen before Hong-Chih Kuo got the final two outs.Dillon Gee (8-3) gave up five hits and six runs -- five earned -- struck out two and walked one to lose his second straight.Mets shortstop Jose Reyes went on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a strained left hamstring that will cause him to sit out the All-Star Game, although he will still attend. Manager Terry Collins hopes Reyes can return by July 22, when the Mets open a series at Florida.After scoring just five runs in losing the first three games of the series, the Dodgers went on a roll in the sixth inning, sending nine men to the plate.Gwynn singled to lead off, stole second and continued to third on a throwing error by catcher Paulino. After Jamey Carroll grounded out, Andre Ethier walked. Gwynn and Ethier scored on Kemp's RBI double to left field.Uribe's ground-rule double scored Kemp before Miles' RBI double brought Uribe home. Navarro's triple into the right field corner scored Miles.The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead on Miles' sacrifice fly in the second. Uribe was hit in the left elbow by a pitch with one out. Gee knocked down James Loney's comebacker, tried for the force at second and made a throwing error that allowed Uribe to take third.Uribe and the throw from left fielder Jason Bay got to the plate at the same time and umpire Greg Gibson called Uribe safe, even though the TV replays showed Paulino tagged Uribe's right knee before his leg touched the plate. Collins vehemently argued with Gibson to no avail."It's a tough call because it was a bang-bang play," Paulino said. "I moved right in front of the plate when the ball got to me, but he must have thought that I was behind the plate and that he touched the plate first."Gibson was involved in a blown call at first base on Wednesday night. Ethier hit an opposite-field RBI single through the left side and Kemp followed with what appeared to be a double-play grounder to shortstop. But Gibson ruled Kemp beat the relay, bringing Collins out of the dugout for a brief argument.TV replays also showed Gibson got that one wrong. Carroll took third on the fielder's choice grounder and scored on Uribe's sacrifice fly -- which would have been the third out.
Mets RF Carlos Beltran's 11-game hitting streak ended after he went 0-for-3. ... Mets 2B Justin Turner failed to reach base for the first time in 29 games. ... The Mets fell to 11-3 in Gee's 14 starts this season. ... The Dodgers honored Hall of Famer Dick Williams with a moment of silence before the game. Williams, who died Thursday at 82, broke into the major leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers. ... Ethier teamed with his father Byron for the first pitch, with Byron throwing and his son catching on Ethier's bobblehead night. The giveaway helped attract an announced crowd of 56,000, just the third sellout of the season.
56,000 (100% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
79 degrees, partly cloudy
Home Plate - Greg Gibson, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - Gerry Davis
Clayton Kershaw held Mets hitters to 0 for 8 in at-bats ending with his slider Thursday, including six strikeouts. Kershaw now has a league-high 81 strikeouts with the slider this season, with 31 coming in his last four starts.