LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dan Haren drove to the ballpark believing it was going to be a good night.
Instead, it was another nightmare for the pitcher mired in the worst slump of his 12-year career.
Haren dropped his fifth consecutive start in an 8-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs that ended the first-place Dodgers’ six-game winning streak.
“I’m frustrated and embarrassed,” Haren said. “It’s kind of been a broken record the last four or five times. I feel confident coming into the game, but it seems like the same things happen.”
The right-hander (8-9) gave up seven runs – six earned – and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings, striking out three and walking two. Haren lost all four of his starts in July.
“I didn’t have good stuff. I don’t know why,” he said. “I should be pitching better. I feel bad for the fans. It’s the toughest time of my career.”
The Dodgers staked Haren to a 1-0 lead in the first on Hanley Ramirez’s RBI double. But the Cubs scored three runs in the third for a 4-1 lead – one came on Haren’s wild pitch. He left after loading the bases with two outs in the fifth, when the Cubs added three more runs to make it 7-1.
“Danny, obviously, couldn’t stop them early,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “From there it seemed like everything kind of went wrong.”
Kyle Hendricks scattered four hits over seven innings, Starlin Castro had three hits and scored three runs, and the last-place Cubs won for the fourth time in five games.
Making his fourth major league start after being called up from Triple-A, Hendricks (2-1) allowed one earned run, struck out three and walked one in his return to Dodger Stadium, where he pitched in high school. The rookie had two of Chicago’s 13 hits.
Ryan Sweeney had two hits and scored twice, and Luis Valbuena homered and drove in two runs for Chicago.
The wildest play of the game occurred in the sixth. It began when Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice to third baseman Valbuena, who forced Scott Van Slyke at second.
Second baseman Arismendy Alcantara tried to complete the double play, but Ramirez got to first in time, forcing Anthony Rizzo to fire to the plate. Yasiel Puig, who was on second, had started home on the throw to first.
Puig slid home, where catcher Wellington Castillo was fully sprawled on the ground. Puig reached to tag the plate with his left hand while keeping his right hand away from Castillo’s outstretched glove in a cat-and-mouse game. Puig was called safe, which the Cubs challenged. There was a 4-minute review before the call was upheld and the Dodgers trailed 8-2.
Cubs: Left-hander Felix Doubront was added to the roster and placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left calf. He was acquired on Wednesday from Boston for a player to be named. He is 26-22 with a 4.82 ERA and three saves in 98 appearances in the last five years with the Red Sox.
Dodgers: Reliever Paul Maholm walked out on crutches with his right knee in a brace after the game. He will have a MRI on Saturday. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez left the game in the third with a right knee contusion. Puig was taken out for precautionary reasons with mild left hamstring soreness in the seventh. The bad luck didn’t escape first base coach Davey Lopes, who slipped on some steps. “I think that’s it,” Mattingly said with a weak smile after ticking off all the injuries.
Cubs: Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 3.38) takes the mound for his fourth major league start. The left-hander has struck out 13 and walked six while holding the opposition to a .254 average in his first three starts. He had Tommy John surgery two years ago, when he was in Baltimore’s farm system.
Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-5, 3.44) starts against the Cubs for just the second time in his career. The left-hander has won three consecutive starts since July 13, going 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA. Ryu has limited opponents to a .186 batting average while striking out 22 and walking two in that span.
Dee Gordon reached 50 stolen bases when he swiped second and third in the first before scoring. He reached the mark in just 110 team games, tying for fourth fewest in Los Angeles history.
There were four reviews in the game, with Cubs manager Rick Renteria making two challenges, Mattingly had one and the umpires initiated a crew chief review to consider a potential rule violation after which they confirmed the call when Gonzalez was tagged out at home plate in the first.