NEW YORK — If this actually was a preview trailer for a coming attraction, the Dodgers might find it in the horror listings.
Facing the second-best team in the National League, the Dodgers collapsed late in the series finale, letting a one-run lead get away as the New York Mets scored four runs in the sixth and seventh innings to take a 5-3 win Thursday afternoon.
Only six of the 27 innings in the series ended with the two teams separated by more than a run. But all six of those leaned the Mets’ way as they took the last two games of the series (after splitting a four-game series in Los Angeles at the start of June). It is the Dodgers’ first two-game losing streak since they lost back-to-back games to the Washington Nationals on July 25-26.
The Mets tamed the Dodgers’ offense, outhitting them 24-16 in the series and holding them to 4 for 20 with runners in scoring position – without starting Max Scherzer in any of the games.
Playoff series like that can turn on the slightest mistake, and the Dodgers made too many Thursday.
Making his return from the latest flare-up of his back problems, Clayton Kershaw looked rusty in the first inning. He walked three (his first three-walk inning since 2015), the last one forcing in a run. Only 10 of his first 25 pitches were strikes.
But Kershaw got Jeff McNeil to pop up with the bases loaded to end the first inning and rediscovered his slider from there. Kershaw retired the final 13 batters he faced in order starting with McNeil, striking out two of three batters in the second, third and fourth innings. He got 13 swings-and-misses in five innings, eight on his slider.
The Dodgers gave him a lead in the second inning. But it could have been more.
Four consecutive batters reached base with one out. Justin Turner doubled. Gavin Lux singled. Trayce Thompson walked to load the bases and Chris Taylor sliced a single into right field.
Turner scored easily on Taylor’s hit and third base coach Dino Ebel sent Lux as well. But his signal was misinterpreted by Thompson who charged on into an easy out at home plate, taking the steam out of the inning.
The score remained 2-1 into the sixth when Chris Martin replaced Kershaw.
Starling Marte led off with a soft ground ball (66.8 mph off the bat) to the right side. Lux failed to charge the ball and his sidearm toss to first base was too late to get Marte.
Francisco Lindor took it from there. Marte scored the tying run when Lindor lined a double into right-center field. He then stole third and scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Darin Ruf.
The Mets added to their lead with help from Lux again in the seventh.
After a two-out double by James McCann, Brandon Nimmo lofted a pop-up toward shallow right field. Lux appeared to lose it in the sky and looked to Mookie Betts for help. He wasn’t close enough to get to it and it dropped in for an RBI double. Marte followed with an RBI single to open a three-run lead.
With that, the Mets sounded the trumpets, bringing in closer Edwin Diaz for the eighth inning. The Dodgers squeezed a run out of a walk and a hit batter against him (and hit two fly balls to the warning track) but they went down in order against Adam Ottavino in the ninth.
More to come on this story.