LOS ANGELES -- Defense was an issue for the Los Angeles Dodgers early in the season, but they had made strides in recent months.
Indeed, they had made two errors in their previous 91 innings before a wacky sequence of events Monday night that featured three errors on one play and nearly injured the best pitcher on the planet.
When Rene Rivera lifted a shallow fly ball to center field in the sixth inning of the Dodgers' eventual 9-4 win over the San Diego Padres, center fielder Yasiel Puig figured he would try to double off Rymer Liriano at first base.
It seemed like a good idea at the time -- Liriano had wandered most of the way to second base -- but it would trigger the play that left Clayton Kershaw reeling, however briefly.
Puig threw without setting his feet and skipped his throw past Adrian Gonzalez for error No. 1.
Catcher A.J. Ellis, backing up the play, got the ball on a rebound off the railing of the Padres' dugout and fired to second base. But Liriano was arriving at the same time, and the ball trickled into center field for error No. 2.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who had passed Puig while chasing the original popup, picked it up and fired home -- about 20 feet to Ellis' right for error No. 3.
After Ellis retrieved it off the backstop, he threw to Kershaw, who jumped out of the way without attempting to apply a tag to Liriano.
After the two unearned runs crossed the plate, Kershaw flipped the ball in the dirt disgustedly, then bent over in apparent pain.
"It knocked the wind out of me diving," Kershaw said. "I was trying to catch my breath there a little. Yeah, you can laugh about it now, because we won pretty good, but luckily, it wasn't 0-0 or anything like that."
For Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, it was a bit reminiscent of a July 27, 1988, game he had played in, during which New York Yankees pitcher Tommy John made three errors on one play, one of which was a throw that sailed past Mattingly into right field.
Mattingly wasn't too bent out of shape about the sloppy play from his team Monday.
"That one just got crazy. It's not going to overshadow, because we won," Mattingly said. "If you lose, it could. I did look up and see a full moon."