Clayton Kershaw smiled when asked whether he could recall the last time the Dodgers had won a game.
"I don't remember, really," he said.
Presented with the same question, shortstop Dee Gordon looked up as if to scan his mental hard drive, then caught himself and shook his head.
"That's messed up, dog," Gordon said.
The Dodgers' 8-3 victory over the New York Mets on Sunday was their first in eight days. Between this triumph and their victory in Anaheim on June 23, they lost seven consecutive games and were shut out five times.
Desperation reached a stage that prompted them to make a trade proposal to the Houston Astros to acquire Carlos Lee, a declining 36-year-old first baseman. With Lee reluctant to waive his no-trade clause and leave his Texas cattle ranch, the Dodgers withdrew their offer Sunday, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The Dodgers will continue to search for offensive reinforcements, preferably at the corner infield positions. Their last four runs Sunday were all unearned and Manager Don Mattingly didn't sound certain that the Dodgers were free of the malignant forces that caused them to lose 11 of their 12 previous games.
"Hopefully, that's a breakthrough," Mattingly said. "We'll see what happens tomorrow."
Mattingly slumped in his chair, his voice as tired and his face as drained as they were over the last several days.
Kershaw offered similar thoughts.
"We won a game," he said. "We're going to be happy about it tonight and come back tomorrow and try to win another one."
Both manager and pitching ace acknowledged that negative thoughts had infected the team and spread throughout the clubhouse.
"It's definitely not easy to come to the park every day when you're losing like that," Kershaw said. "But at the same time, the schedule doesn't stop. We can't feel sorry for ourselves."
The Dodgers ended their scoreless streak at 23 innings in the first inning when Juan Rivera doubled inA.J. Ellis to tie the score, 1-1. But in the second inning, Gordon threw away two balls and the Dodgers were down, 3-1.
Would this be another one of those days?
"When you're in this kind of situation, those thoughts creep in," Mattingly said. "It's natural, it's part of human nature. You get that feeling after seven days of this."
But Kershaw fought his instincts, regained his composure and completed the remainder of his seven innings without giving up another run.
The Mets did the rest.
Two errors led to two Dodgers runs in the fifth inning that tied the score, 3-3.
The Dodgers went ahead, 4-3, when James Loney grounded out to drive in Juan Rivera. The lead was their first in 67 innings, their longest drought ever.
The game blew open when pitcher Miguel Batista fielded a bases-loaded grounder by Rivera in the seventh inning and threw the ball home, only for catcher Mike Nickeas to miss it. The ball skipped to the backstop, allowing two runs to score. Bobby Abreu scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Kennedy, who scored on a double by Loney. For Loney, the double ended a hitless skid at 28 at-bats.
Kershaw, who was selected to the National League All-Star team Sunday, won for the first time in four starts and lowered his earned-run average to 2.65. He was charged with three runs, but only one was earned.
The Dodgers remained a game behind the first-place San Francisco Giants in the NL West. They have seven games until the All-Star break.