LOS ANGELES – A couple of mistakes here and there and no early run support kept Joe Saunders winless again.
Chris Young had three of Arizona's five hits in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. The Diamondbacks dropped their fifth straight while setting a franchise record with their last six losses by one run.
"It's really tough losing those close games. It gets old," Young said. "We had some opportunities to win the game, and it was nice that we came back in the ninth. But you'd like to be ahead earlier in the game."
Saunders knows the feeling.
The left-hander gave up four runs — three earned — and six hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out two and walked four in losing his career-high sixth straight decision. Saunders (0-5) hasn't won since Sept. 21 against Colorado, a span of 10 starts.
"This game is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. Everybody presses," he said. "You're job's on the line every day and someone's always trying to take your job, so you've got to go out there and put up numbers and get some wins for your club."
Clayton Kershaw allowed three hits over seven innings and Rod Barajas snapped a scoreless tie in the fifth with a solo homer to help the Dodgers win their season high-tying fifth straight.
Kershaw (5-3) struck out a season-high 11, walked two and left with a 4-0 lead. He retired his final 14 batters in winning his fourth straight start against Arizona.
"We definitely chased some balls out of the zone that we probably shouldn't have," Young said. "He threw his curveball quite a bit, and we continued to swing at it. He's got a mid-90s fastball and he located it well, but we had him in trouble a couple of times. So it says that we were grinding out there. We just couldn't get the big hit."
Young scored Arizona's first run on Xavier Nady's single in the eighth off Matt Guerrier.
The D'backs added two more runs in the ninth off Vicente Padilla. Pinch-hitter Miguel Montero had a two-run single with one out, making it 4-3. Young walked with a runner on and two outs, chasing Padilla. Kenley Jansen came on to earn his first save of the season by striking out Melvin Mora.
Barajas homered in the fifth when he sent a 1-1 pitch from Saunders over the wall in left field for his seventh of the season.
"Joe threw a good game for us. It's a shame that we didn't play better behind him," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He came out and was very aggressive. He just pounded the zone, had a good pace about himself and made good pitches. He made a mistake to Barajas, but he pitched well enough to win the game. But we let him down."
Matt Kemp's flyball to right-center in the sixth sent Young scrambling back to the fence. He missed the ball as he got there and it fell for a double, allowing Jamey Carroll to score from first base. Barajas struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Dodgers added two runs in the seventh. Aaron Miles singled to deep short and Carroll scored on a throwing error to second base by Stephen Drew. Drew tried to get the force at second, where Kelly Johnson wasn't covering the bag.
Drew threw anyway and the ball got past Johnson, allowing Carroll to score and Miles to take third. Andre Ethier's infield RBI single made it 4-0. He has reached base either by a hit or a walk in 36 consecutive games.
NOTES: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly expressed empathy for LHP Hong-Chih Kuo, on the 15-day DL for anxiety disorder. "I just know how bad guys feel for him. He works hard and has been through so much," Mattingly said, referring to Kuo's chronic elbow problems that led to four operations. "We just hope he can work through it." He said he doesn't know where Kuo will receive treatment. ... The Dodgers purchased the contract of INF Juan Castro from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned INF Ivan De Jesus to Triple-A. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers transferred C Hector Gimenez to the 60-day DL. ... Saunders' 0-5 start ties Yusmeiro Petit (2009), Russ Ortiz (2006) and Brian Anderson (2002) among D'backs starters.