Kershaw was pulled by manager Dave Roberts after throwing 39 pitches, giving up four hits and two walks while striking out two. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Kershaw's previous shortest career start was 1⅓ innings, which also came on May 4 (in 2010).
Roberts told reporters after the game there were no physical issues with Kershaw and that it was "an outlier of an outing." Both said there has been no discussion about the left-hander pitching Saturday on short rest.
"It's embarrassing," Kershaw said. "No excuses. I was horrible. I put our team in a really bad spot. ... Chalk it up to a really bad start and get ready for the next one."
According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was only the second time in Kershaw's 361 career starts that he allowed four runs in the first inning. He allowed five runs in the first inning on Aug. 28, 2008, against the Nationals, during his rookie season.
"I would have liked to continue to go and try to be better," Kershaw said. "But when you're that bad, you really can't stand up for yourself too much."
The three-time Cy Young Award winner saw his ERA rise from 2.09 to 2.95 as the Dodgers lost for the seventh time in nine games.
Kershaw gave up a one-out double to Kris Bryant, and things unraveled for him from there. Anthony Rizzo followed with an RBI single. Javier Baez walked, and Matt Duffy singled to load the bases before David Bote drove a three-run double off the wall in left-center to make it 4-0.
"Everything was bad," Kershaw said. "I'm not going to try and analyze it too much."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.