- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - Clayton Kershaw’s string of double-digit strikeout games is over. His trouble with home runs is still going strong.

Kershaw gave up two more homers Monday night, and the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 4-2 to the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a 10-game road trip.

“Giving up homers is something … as long as they’re solo shots, I always say, it doesn’t really matter,” Kershaw said. “Right now, it feels like that’s the only way I’m giving up runs the past two starts. If you make a bad pitch you make a bad pitch. Hopefully they just stay in the ballpark.”

The two homers off Kershaw (5-5) ran his total for the year to 11, two more than he allowed all last season. The reigning NL MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out nine in seven innings, ending a string of three consecutive starts with double-digit strikeouts.

“Some balls that are being left up are being hit,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “Did a pretty good job battling through it today. I think, just different conditions and really hot humid day. I was proud of him for the way he got through seven.”

Kris Bryant connected twice for his first career multihomer game, helping the Cubs (38-30) move eight games over .500 for the first time since they were 82-74 in 2009, according to STATS. Matt Szczur had a solo shot off Kershaw for his first homer of the year.

Bryant had just one hit in last 18 at-bats before he drove a 1-2 curveball from Kershaw over the wall in right for a two-run homer in the third. His two-out drive on an elevated fastball from Adam Liberatore in the eighth was his 10th of the season and led to a curtain call for the slugger.

“A couple pitches here or there. Just wish they were doubles instead of homers, but it happens sometimes,” Kershaw said. “You could say you can live with the solo homers, but a two-run homer with two outs and two strikes is tough there.”

The Cubs got solid work from five relievers after Tsuyoshi Wada departed in the third due to cramping in the back of his left arm. Center fielder Dexter Fowler was replaced in the fifth after he sprained his left ankle.

Travis Wood (4-3) pitched 3 1-3 innings for the win. Jason Motte allowed Joc Pederson’s 19th homer in the ninth before finishing for his second save on his 33rd birthday.

Los Angeles (39-32) finished with five hits in its third loss in four games.

Wada gave up a leadoff homer to Kike Hernandez and a single by Ellis before he was replaced by Wood with no outs in the third. The team said Wada had cramping in his left deltoid muscle and would be evaluated again Tuesday.

WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT

The Cubs played the game under protest after the lights at Wrigley Field flickered in the bottom of the sixth inning, prompting an odd scene when manager Joe Maddon repeatedly came out of the dugout to talk to the umpires during a 10-minute delay.

“Just be a little more patient and wait for the lights. That was my argument,” Maddon said. “That’s it. Nothing more complicated than that. I just thought it was inappropriate.”

With one out and Kershaw pitching to Bryant, a handful of lights in several banks went out at the ballpark. Maddon had multiple discussions with the umpires before play resumed, and all the lights appeared to be back on shortly after the game started again.

“We felt that we would be able to continue playing, that it was sufficient lighting,” crew chief Jerry Meals said. “Out of the six banks, none were out. There was scattered lights out.”

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was frustrated with the length of the delay with Kershaw on the mound.

“I’m not quite sure what Joe’s arguing,” Mattingly said. “But at that point, once they make that decision that’s when you’d like to get on with it from the standpoint of letting a guy stand out there for 10 minutes.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Joel Peralta (shoulder soreness) was activated from the 15-day DL before the game. He pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings over seven April appearances, going 1-0 with three saves in three chances. “Joel’s a different look,” Mattingly said. “He’s a guy that gives us experience.” The Dodgers also recalled LHP Ian Thomas from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned relievers Daniel Coulombe and Matt West to their top farm club.

Cubs: Maddon said OF Jorge Soler (left ankle sprain) is at least a week from beginning a rehab stint.

UP NEXT

Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke (5-2, 1.81 ERA) tries for his first win since May 5 when he takes on RHP Jason Hammel (5-2, 2.89 ERA) on Tuesday night. Greinke is 0-2 in his last eight starts despite a 1.99 ERA in the winless stretch. Hammel is 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA in four June starts.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at https://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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