NEW YORK (AP) — Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom stumbled in an unexpected ace showdown, Matt Kemp hit a pinch grand slam and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the slumping New York Mets 8-3 Saturday night.
The Dodgers have won 11 straight against the Mets dating to May 2016, matching their best run in the rivalry. Los Angeles beat New York 11 straight times across 1963 and ’64.
Kershaw gave up two runs over three innings in a surprise return from the disabled list. He threw 55 pitches, starting out strong before laboring through his final inning. Left-handed rookie Caleb Ferguson (1-1) replaced him and escaped a couple tight situations over four scoreless innings for his first major league win.
DeGrom (5-3) allowed three earned runs in six innings, including Max Muncy’s 14th home run in the first. He entered the game with a major league-leading 1.51 ERA and hadn’t allowed three earned runs in a game since April 16 against Washington.
New York has lost five straight overall and 12 of 13 at home. The Mets have scored four or fewer runs in 15 straight home games dating to May 20.
Kemp cleared the bases during a five-run eighth inning with his eighth career slam and 13th home run this season. Chris Taylor had a key two-run pinch double, and Los Angeles won for the 24th time in 33 games.
Kershaw was scheduled to make a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City at Omaha, but Los Angeles decided Friday to have him pitch in New York because of precarious weather in Nebraska. The lefty ace had been sidelined since June 1 with a lower back strain.
Kershaw was electric in the first inning, freezing leadoff man Brandon Nimmo on a curveball for a three-pitch strikeout and catching Todd Frazier looking for a five-pitch K.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner wasn’t as sharp after that. Michael Conforto and Jose Bautista lined consecutive doubles in the second inning to tie it at 1, and Kershaw threw 25 pitches in the third inning, including an RBI single by Wilmer Flores to put New York ahead 2-1.
Kershaw struck out four, walked one and allowed five hits before Taylor hit for him in the fourth. Kershaw was expected to be limited to 60 pitches or four innings before his rehab outing was nixed.
Taylor was held out of the lineup with a tight left hamstring for a second straight day but delivered a two-run double as Kershaw’s replacement. His shot into the right-center gap put Los Angeles ahead 3-2 during deGrom’s 33-pitch fourth inning. Pitcher Ross Stripling pinch ran for Taylor.
Ferguson struck out six, walked one and allowed three hits. The 21-year-old worked out of trouble in the fifth and seventh innings. The latter jam emerged when Cody Bellinger badly misplayed Nimmo’s low liner to center, leading to a one-out triple. Ferguson then struck out Frazier and got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out.
DeGrom’s day got off to a rocky start. One pitch after leadoff hitter Joc Pederson drilled deGrom in the rear end with a grounder, Muncy drove a 97 mph fastball midway up the second deck in right field for a 1-0 lead. DeGrom matched a season high with three walks and gave up five hits.
Bautista hit a solo homer off Yimi Garcia in the eighth inning, his fourth this season.
Los Angeles’ past nine wins over New York have been by at least three runs — a first in Dodgers history against any opponent, according to STATS. Los Angeles has outscored the Mets 83-23 during its 11-game streak.
Enrique Hernandez scored Bellinger with a safety squeeze in the eighth inning.
The Angels claimed reliever Hansel Robles on waivers a day after he was cut by New York.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (4-1, 2.63) is still dealing with soreness from a right rib microfracture. Buehler nixed a scheduled bullpen session Saturday, and manager Dave Roberts said he may throw it Sunday if there’s improvement. … LHP Adam Liberatore was optioned to Triple-A to make space for Kershaw.
LHP Rich Hill (1-2, 4.99) starts the series finale for the Dodgers against LHP Jason Vargas (2-6, 8.60).