PITTSBURGH -- Clayton Kershaw last gave up a run on July 5 against the New York Mets. He entered his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night having held opposing teams scoreless in his last 37 innings.
Kershaw's streak ended quickly.
His first pitch was a fastball low and in to Gregory Polanco, who hit his second leadoff home run in as many games to right-center field.
"(I) just dared him to hit it and he did," Kershaw said. "Good job."
Pittsburgh went on to beat Los Angeles 5-4 in 10 innings when pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez lined a bases-loaded single over a five-man infield.
Kershaw lasted six innings and yielded four runs for just the fourth time this season.
"He wasn't that bad," Dodgers' manager Don Mattingly said. "He just wasn't quite as sharp as normal where he's getting ahead in the count."
The matchup between Kershaw and Pittsburgh right-hander Gerrit Cole marked the first time the major league's win leader (Cole) faced the major league's strikeout leader (Kershaw) this late in a season since the Chicago White Sox's Wilbur Wood squared off against the California Angels' Nolan Ryan on Aug. 11, 1973, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
However, the pitching duel did not materialize.
Kershaw, who had won his previous four starts, gave up nine hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Kershaw raised his season strikeout total to 197, leaving him three shy of a sixth straight season with at least 200.
"It was a tough one," Kershaw said. "(I) struggled all the way through pretty much and give the Pirates credit. They did a good job battling me the whole night and just didn't really have good stuff."
Cole allowed three runs and four hits in six innings while striking out five and walking three. His record remained 14-5, though, and he has only one win in four starts since the All-Star break.
Jimmy Rollins had three of the Dodgers' six hits and drove in two runs.
"(Kershaw) just wasn't sharp," Rollins said. "He was having trouble with control on some parts of the plate."
Left-hander J.P. Howell relieved and Mattingly moved an outfielder into the infield but the left-handed hitting Alvarez singled into right field for the game-winning hit. Yasiel Puig moved from right field to between first and second base, but the remaining outfielders did not shift to the right side against the pull-heavy hitter.
"You don't care where the defense is," Alvarez said. "My entire focus of the at-bat is on the pitcher and what he's trying to do. That's all you can control."
The Pirates won for the 13th time in their last 16 home games and improved to 37-18 at PNC Park this season. They are 12-2 against NL West teams.
Pittsburgh remained three games ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild card standings. Los Angeles stayed three games in front of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.
Antonio Bastardo (4-1) pitched a scoreless 10th for his second win in as many games.
Howie Kendrick had two hits, including a two-run infield single on which Rollins sprinted home from second base to put the Dodgers up 2-1 in the third. Rollins put the Dodgers ahead 3-2 in the fifth with a one-out RBI single.
The Dodgers tied it 4-4 in the seventh inning when Rollins hit a two-out RBI double.
Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner (right thigh infection) began hitting off a tee and throwing Friday at the Camelback Ranch training complex in Glendale, Arizona, but he won't be ready to come off the DL next Tuesday when first eligible, as hoped. He likely will be activated later in the week.
Pirates: RHP Deolis Guerra (right knee inflammation) was placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 31, after Major League Baseball rescinded a waiver claim by Cleveland because of the injury.
Dodgers: RHP Mat Latos, who starts Saturday, is 5-1 with a 3.13 ERA against the Pirates in 12 career starts.
Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano has won all three career starts against the Dodgers with a 1.37 ERA.