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Dodgers rely on Kershaw in finale against Padres

(SportsNetwork.com) - Clayton Kershaw will get an earlier-than-expected chance at finding his way back into the win column as he gets the call on Thursday night in the finale of a three-game set between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

Kershaw will move up in the rotation to give Zack Greinke and his sore elbow some additional rest, though Kershaw will still be on regular rest due to Monday's off day. Greinke, meanwhile, had his start pushed back to Saturday as he hopes to avoid a trip to the disabled list.

The left-handed Kershaw should be itching to go after suffering his first loss since May 28 on Saturday versus Milwaukee despite logging his sixth complete game of the season. He yielded three runs on five hits -- two of those homers -- while striking out 11 to zero walks.

The setback snapped Kershaw's 13-game unbeaten streak (11-0) and dropped him to 14-3 with a 1.86 earned run average on the season despite him logging the most complete games in a season by a Dodger since Ismael Valdez's six in 1995.

"I thought Clayton pitched a really good game," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He just missed his spots on two pitches. Give them credit."

Kershaw is 10-6 with a 2.38 ERA in his career versus the Padres, who counter with right-hander Tyson Ross.

Though Ross has matched a club record with 11 straight quality starts, he had a four-decision win streak stopped with a 4-2 setback at St. Louis on Friday. He did struggle with his control while giving up three runs on five hits and four walks over six innings.

The 27-year-old walked the bases loaded in the opening frame, eventually yielding two runs in the inning, and is 5-5 with a 1.97 ERA with 72 strikeouts over his quality start streak.

"It's kind of hard when you shoot yourself in the foot like that," Ross said of the first inning. "Innings two through six were a lot better than the first one."

Ross is 11-11 with a 2.70 ERA on the year and winless in his career versus the Dodgers, who he is 0-4 against with a 2.91 ERA in seven games (5 starts).

The Padres drew even in this series with last night's 4-1 win. San Diego scored three runs in the second inning to give starter Eric Stults a lead, and the southpaw combined with three relievers to make it hold up.

Consecutive walks with one out in the frame loaded the bases for Alexi Amarista, who singled in the game's first run. Stults then stepped in and lined a single to left. Jake Goebbert scored easily and Rymer Liriano came around on Scott Van Slyke's error out in left field.

Stults allowed a run on four hits while striking out five to improve to 3-0 in four starts this month.

"I'm executing pitches better," said Stults. "I've picked up the tempo a little bit. We got some runs early and made them hold up."

The Padres had lost four of five coming in and beat the Dodgers for only the fourth time in 12 meetings this season.

Roberto Hernandez went five innings as well in his home debut for the Dodgers, absorbing the loss after allowing all four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits. Hernandez was acquired from Philadelphia earlier this month and had made a pair of road starts with his new team.

"Roberto took a lot of pitches to get through his innings, said Mattingly. "He kept battling but was behind a lot in counts. Stults played on the edges and changed speeds. Tonight we didn't do a lot with him."

Though the Dodgers have lost five of their past seven, they still lead the San Francisco Giants by 3 1/2 games for first place in the National League West.

08/21 10:19:59 ET

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