LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Wednesday night couldn't turn a double play and couldn't catch a popup.
That's why they couldn't keep their amazing run going and couldn't beat the Yankees, losing the Interleague clash, 3-0, because a sloppy ninth inning wasted eight scoreless ones from ace Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw and former teammate Hiroki Kuroda dueled scorelessly and admirably for 7 1/2 innings. Kuroda was removed after seven innings, Kershaw after eight, both allowing five hits. Kershaw totaled 97 pitches, but worked hard to escape a jam in the eighth. Afterward, he refused to say what he thought of his removal.
"I know the answer he gave me," said manager Don Mattingly. "We asked how he was and we can tell with Clayton, it's either, 'I'm good. I've got this.' He won't tell you he wants to come out, but from what he said, he was out of gas."
Said Kershaw: "I put Donnie in a tough spot. Leave it at that."
The pitching change was worth noting, not only for the pitcher that left but the one that wasn't brought in. Kenley Jansen had appeared in six of the last eight games and was on Mattingly's "protected list." If there was a win to save, Mattingly said he might have used Jansen, but not in a tie game. Instead the ball went to Ronald Belisario, who walked leadoff hitter Derek Jeter.
Then, for the Dodgers, it got ugly. Robinson Cano hit a possible double-play ball that shortstop Hanley Ramirez gloved moving behind the bag. Ramirez, who has a surgically repaired right thumb, double-clutched before pulling the ball out and flipping to Mark Ellis for a force at second. Ellis' relay to first was late.
Seven innings earlier, Ramirez appeared to aggravate the thumb while grounding out, but stayed in the game and struck out in each of his last three at-bats. While Ramirez's defense has exceeded management's expectations, he has had trouble grabbing the baseball out of his glove.
"It looked like he took a half step to get the ball out of his glove," Mattingly said. "I think Hanley's been great for me at shortstop. Sometimes you grip the ball right away, sometimes you don't. It's the way it goes."
Maybe 1-0 would have been enough to beat the Dodgers, but the Yankees weren't finished. Alfonso Soriano bounced to third, as Cano took second. Belisario intentionally walked pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki and lefty Paco Rodriguez was brought on to face pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay, who lobbed a 1-2 pitch into center field for an RBI single after a pair of check-swing appeals, third-base umpire Bill Miller calling one a strike and one a ball.
Jayson Nix then hit a popup to shallow right field, where right fielder Yasiel Puig and second baseman Mark Ellis converged. Ellis said they didn't make contact, but the ball hit Ellis' glove and he was charged with a two-run error.
"It was a popup in a weird spot and I dropped it," said Ellis, who said he heard Puig call for the ball at the last minute. "It was too late to get out of the way and I tried to go up and catch it."
To cap the ninth-inning frustration for the Dodgers, Mattingly was ejected by Miller while returning to the dugout during a pitching change, as the manager argued Miller's safe call on Overbay's 0-2 check-swing that would have ended the inning with the score still 0-0.
"I figured he missed one of the two," said Mattingly after seeing replays of the check-swing appeals. "It was the same swing."
Mariano Rivera made his farewell appearance by picking up his 34th save.
Kershaw pitched eight or more innings for the ninth time and lowered his ERA to 1.87. In six July starts, Kershaw has a 1.43 ERA, 43 strikeouts and only two walks.
"We let him down offensively tonight," Kershaw's catcher, A.J. Ellis, said. "It's a shame that with the way he threw the ball tonight, he's not celebrating a win right now.
"We're spoiled having him on our team and on our pitching staff, because we're a teammate of somebody who is really, really special. The fact that he can come out every single start and reproduce what he does makes him the best in the league."
The Dodgers couldn't even score in the seventh inning when they had three hits because Gonzalez, who had the first one, was thrown out by Vernon Wells trying to stretch a single into a double.
Kuroda was returning to Dodger Stadium for the first time since leaving after the 2011 season, when the club decided it couldn't afford his $11 million salary and used the money to sign free-agent starters Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang.
"At first, it was a little bit strange, I have to admit," said Kuroda. "But I'm wearing a Yankees uniform now so once the game started I was able to get into a rhythm."
Harang was traded in April, Capuano (3-6, 4.54 ERA) is the Dodgers' fifth starter and Kuroda is 10-6 with a 2.38 ERA.
"He's one of the best pitchers in the American League," said Kershaw, "so we lost that. I've seen him do that for years. He's a tough competitor. I have a lot of respect for Hiroki and what he's doing. I knew I was in for a tough night."
Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi of Kuroda: "He's been great. To have the ERA that he has in our division, in this day and age, in our ballpark, is pretty amazing."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.