Win streak snapped, Heyward ties record with 5 strikeouts

LOS ANGELES – On a night when the Braves' nine-game winning streak ended, a streak of a different sort was extended and an ignominous record matched.

Braves rookie Jason Heyward matched a major league record with five strikeouts and the Los Angeles Dodgers broke a tie in the seventh inning of a 5-4 win Friday night at Dodger Stadium, dropping Kenshin Kawakami's record to 0-8.

Kawakami allowed four runs in the first two innings en route to becoming the first Braves pitcher to start a season 0-8  since Rosy Ryan of the 1926 Boston Braves.

Heyward struck out for the final out of the game to equal a major league record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game.  It's been done 55 times by 54 players, most recently by the White Sox' Alex Rios one year earlier on June 4, 2009.

"When you foul that many off that many [hittable] pitches, a lot of times it's not going to be a good result," said Heyward, who struck out in all four at-bats against left-hander Clayton Kershaw before whiffing against closer Jonathan Broxton.

Andruw Jones went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts for the Braves in a nine-inning game at Boston in 2007.

Heyward, 20, was asked if he'd ever struck out five times in a game at any level.

"If it has happened, I don't remember," said the right fielder, who leads major league rookies with 10 homers and 38 RBIs.  "If it did happen or it didn't, it doesn't matter. Today is today, but tomorrow's the next game."

The Dodgers scored the winning run in the seventh on James Loney's single off left-hander Eric O'Flaherty, after manager Bobby  Cox had Kawakami walk Manny Ramirez to put two runners on and set up a potential double play.

Kawakami was charged with five runs and nine hits in 6-1/3 innings and blamed only himself for the loss,  just the third defeat in 17 games for the Braves.

"The first two innings I gave up four runs," Kawakami said through his translator. "That ended up [preventing a win]. That's the result. It's terrible."

It snapped the Braves' nine-game winning streak, their longest since a 15-game winning streak in April-May 2000. That streak also ended at Dodger Stadium, where Greg Maddux was dealt his first loss in a 19-win season.

"Well, we knew we were going to eventually lose," Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar said through a translator. "But we all watched Philly win today, and they gained a game on us. We're trying to win as many as we can."

The Braves' National League East lead was trimmed from three games to two over the Phillies, whom they overtook with a sweep in a series this week at Atlanta.

Escobar drove in three runs and had half of the Braves' six hits, including a tying two-run, two-out double in the seventh off Hong-Chih Kuo (1-1), right after Kershaw left the game.

Both of those runs went to Kershaw, who was charged with five hits, four runs (three earned) and five walks in 6-2/3 innings. He had eight strikeouts.

"He's one of the best lefties I've seen since I've played here for four years," said Escobar, who had two singles off Kershaw including a two-out RBI hit. "He's got great stuff.  He got behind in the count a couple of times, and I was able to get a couple of hits on fastballs."

The Braves played without injured third baseman Chipper Jones, and catcher David Ross said the veteran switch-hitter's absence was felt against Kershaw.

"I think he's one of the better left-handers that  I've seen in a while in the National League," Ross said. "He's good. He hides the ball, man. Especially out of the stretch, he doesn't give you anything to time, nothing to go off of to get your  rhythm. He kind of falls toward you and it's on you."

After Escobar tied the score with his seventh-inning double, the Dodgers answered with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning.

Kawakami was charged with five runs and nine hits in 6-1/3 innings, and watched from the bench as the fifth Dodgers run scored on Loney's single off O'Flaherty.

Andre Ethier doubled with one out before the intentional walk to Ramirez.

In the Braves' 4-3 series-opening win Thursday,  O'Flaherty struck out Ethier with two runners on base to end the eighth inning. Cox let Kawakami face him Friday

"After the first two innings he was lights-out, " Cox said. "He was dealing. Ethier got a double on a 3-2 count. If he had enough at-bats he'd be leading the league in hitting."

The loss was only the third in 17 games for the Braves and snapped a nine-game winning streak, their longest since a 15-game streak in 2000. Their lead was cut from three games to two over second-place Philadelphia in the NL East.

Troy Glaus  had his nine-game hitting streak snapped, while Martin Prado extended his hit streak to nine games.

The Braves are 24-9 since April 29, tied with the Dodgers for the best record in baseball over that stretch.

It was only the second time in his last 11 starts that Kershaw allowed more than two earned runs, but the Braves wasted a couple of opportunities against him.

They trailed 4-2 and had two runners on with none out in the sixth after a Melky Cabrera walk and Ross' surprise bunt hit.

The opportunity didn't last. Cabrera was thrown out by catcher Russell Martin when he went too far off second base as Nate McLouth squared to bunt (and pulled the bat back). McLouth and Kawakami flied out to end that threat.

They also had two on with one out in the second inning, before McLouth popped out and Kawakami struck out.

McLouth started the day lugging the third-lowest average among NL lineup regulars, and the second-lowest road average. Those slipped to .175 and .116, while his average with runners in scoring position fell to .184.

For Heyward, it was the second "Golden Sombrero" four-strikeout game of his first season. He struck out four times while going 0-for-5 at San Francisco on April 9 in the fourth game of the season.

Heyward then surpassed that by striking out on the final out of the game.

Although Heyward had struck out only four times in his previous nine games, he's 1-for-20 in his past six games.