Dodgers finally snap 11-game losing streak

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The Dodgers losing streak ended at 11 last night as Clayton Kershaw played the stopper in a 5-3 win over the Giants.

It wasn’t necessarily easy. Kershaw, while picking up his 17th win of the year, was not dominant, surrendering a homer to Kelby Tomlinson in the third inning before Chase Utley tied it up with a homer of his own in the fourth. L.A. scored three more in that frame thanks to a Corey Seager sac fly and a two-run double from Yasiel Puig. Kershaw would work out of a major jam in the sixth inning — the Giants loaded the bases with no one out but came away with only one run — and left the mound with fist pumps and yells and stuff.

Reliever Ross Stripling allowed one more run to make it 4-3 in the seventh but Justin Turner doubled home a run to make it 5-3 in the eight. Things got shaky again for the Dodgers in the ninth as Kenley Jansen gave up three singles to load the bases with one out before bearing down to strike out Buster Posey and Nick Hundley to secure the win.

It was only one game but it was a big relief for the reeling Dodgers who, in addition to stopping the streak, clinched at least the second Wild Card in the National League, ensuring their fifth straight playoff appearance. They also notched their 93rd win. They have 17 games left and, on balance, they come against losing teams. If they end the season with 100 wins and some semblance of momentum heading into the playoffs, this skid will be a mere footnote.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.