LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two aces with three World Series titles, three Cy Young Awards and 10 All-Star nods between them struggling on the same day?
If it hadn’t happened to Jon Lester and Clayton Kershaw, Cubs manager Joe Maddon wouldn’t have believed it.
“It sounds like fiction to me,” Maddon said.
Reality bites, particularly for Maddon’s team.
Cody Bellinger and Kike Hernandez led an offensive outburst with three-run homers that upstaged the anticipated duel between the two aces, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Chicago, 9-4, on Sunday to sweep the Cubs in three games at home for the first time since August 2012.
“I’ve not seen Clayton like that. We were on him,” Maddon said. “It was just one of those days. It’s inexplicable.”
Lester and Kershaw were rocked for 10 runs and 18 hits in a combined 7 2/3 innings of their first career matchup. The left-handers failed to retire the side in order in any inning.
Lester (3-3) gave up a season-high six runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings in his shortest outing of the season for Chicago. He struck out six and walked two. The three homers he surrendered were a season high.
“Just wasted the whole day. I didn’t have command of my fastball on either side of the plate,” Lester said. “I couldn’t really go to any particular pitch to try and bail me out of any trouble.”
Kershaw allowed a season-high-tying four runs and a career-high-tying 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings, his shortest outing so far this year. The Cubs stranded 10 runners against him.
“They battled me well,” Kershaw said. “Gave up a lot of hits, but our team was better today. Silver lining that we got the sweep. I’ll think about all that other bad stuff tomorrow.”
Josh Fields (2-0) got the victory, striking out two in 1 2/3 innings.
The game’s 13 runs came on seven homers.
“You hit those stretches sometimes when you’re just hitting home runs, and that’s the way you’re scoring,” Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said. “Hopefully, next time that happens we take advantage of it.”
Bellinger put the Dodgers ahead 3-1 with a drive into the right-field pavilion in the second for the rookie’s team-leading 10th homer. It was Lester’s first homer allowed with runners on this season.
“The ball can fly during the day here so you try to take advantage of it,” Bellinger said.
Hernandez connected in the third, extending the lead to 6-1.
Chicago pulled within two with three runs in the fourth. Javier Baez hit a solo shot and Anthony Rizzo belted a two-run drive for his team-leading 12th homer.
The Cubs jumped on Kershaw from the start. Baez and Bryant had broken-bat singles on first pitches from him to open the game. Addison Russell singled off the first pitch leading off the fifth.
“It was just getting kind of haywire there,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Chicago led 1-0 when Willson Contreras homered leading off the second, snapping 30 consecutive road innings without a run scored. It came on the 12th pitch of the at-bat after Contreras fouled off five straight pitches from Kershaw.
Austin Barnes homered off Chicago’s Mike Montgomery in the fifth. Pinch hitter Yasiel Puig added a two-run shot in the seventh off Pedro Strop.
The Dodgers have won nine of 11 overall and 11 of 13 at home.
The Cubs were outscored 18-4 in the series, losing the first two games by scores of 4-0 and 5-0. They have lost eight of 10 on the road.
Cubs: INF Ben Zobrist sat out a second straight game with a sore left wrist, but is expected to return to the lineup Monday.
Dodgers: LF Franklin Gutierrez left in the first inning with a gastrointestinal illness. … CF Joc Pederson is still in concussion protocol. He will make the trip to St. Louis, but he isn’t expected to be activated. He stayed in the clubhouse Sunday instead of the dugout to avoid sensory overload. … LHP Brandon McCarthy had an MRI that showed patella tendinitis in his right knee, which won’t keep him out of the rotation.
The Dodgers’ NL-leading bullpen pitched 4 2/3 hitless innings. The pen hasn’t given up a run in four straight games and has tossed 15 2/3 scoreless innings during that stretch, while allowing just three hits, striking out 12 and walking three. “No one gave up a run this series but me,” Kershaw said.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-2, 3.25 ERA) starts the series opener in San Diego on Monday. He is unbeaten in five previous outings against the Padres with a 3-0 record and a 1.56 ERA. He tossed a five-hit shutout at Petco Park in May 2015.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (1-2, 4.76 ERA) starts the opener of a four-game series in St. Louis on Monday. In his previous start, he lost to the Cardinals 6-1 on Wednesday, allowing five runs and four hits in four innings while striking out four and walking a career-worst seven on 82 pitches.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.