Kershaw, Dodgers Knock Giants Back into Second Place

Clayton Kershaw did Clayton Kershaw things, dominating the Giants in a complete-game shut-out to give the Dodgers a 5-0 win. The victory gave them the series, and it’s the first time San Francisco has failed to take the series against LA this year.

Despite being no-hit for the first three innings, the Dodgers got on the board first. With two outs in the top of the fourth, Adrian Gonzalez hit a bullet that Hunter Pence simply couldn’t see because he was blinded by the sun. Hanley Ramirez followed it up with an eight-pitch at-bat that led to a single to left. The run scored, but Michael Morse was able to grab the ball on a bounce and get Ramirez trying to take second.

They added another run when Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Juan Uribe led off the fifth with back-to-back-to-back singles. Ryan Vogelsong got some help from his defense, as Adam Duvall made a diving catch in foul ground to get AJ Ellis. After Kershaw bunted both runners, Pence tracked down a ball hit by Dee Gordon to end the inning and the threat.

But the Dodgers wasted no time putting Vogelsong in the stretch again in the top of the sixth when Yasiel Puig and Gonzalez led off with a single and a double. Ramirez was nearly hit in the head with a pitch before he was retired at first, where he decided to stand for an extra few minutes, thinking he was safe.

Crawford hit a sharp ground ball that Dan Uggla made a nice stop on, but his wild throw home allowed Puig to score. On the next play, Kemp’s ground ball to third resulted in an out at home before Uribe crushed a two-out double to center, scoring Crawford and making it 4-0 Los Angeles. Vogelsong got out of the inning and, despite the four runs, managed a quality start since the final two were unearned. The right hander threw six innings, surrendering eight hits, four runs, two earned runs, one intentional walk, and four strikeouts. He needed 106 pitches, 68 went for strikes.

Vogelsong has been the tough-luck loser for awhile, as he’s now 0-4 in his last five starts and has received just three runs of support over that span. But he doesn’t blame the offense or the defense behind him for the losses.

“We’re not gonna start blaming it on that stuff. I do believe that there’s some luck involved in this game, but at the end of the day I feel like you create your own luck most of the time, and a lot of that comes from making good pitches and setting guys up. It does seem that way, like there hasn’t been anything really going my way for awhile, but at the same time, you create your own.”

Just because they could, the Dodgers tacked on another run in the seventh. Gordon led off with a single, moved to second on a Puig groundout, and scored on Gonzalez’s third hit of the night, an RBI single to left.

But Kershaw (12-2) wouldn’t need all of that support, as he simply baffled a struggling Giants offense from start to finish. He needed 113 pitches, 78 strikes, gave up only two hits, one walk, and struck out seven. His 1.76 ERA is the best in baseball. Bruce Bochy knows that his offense was going to have a tough night.

“Kershaw, he was good. He’s one of the best. He’s so tough because he’s a four-pitch guy. It’s hard to see the ball off him, he’s throwing 94, 95, but you’ve got to hopefully find a way to get on base and put some pressure on him, which we couldn’t.”

San Francisco will turn to its newest team member to stop the bleeding, salvage a game in the series, and propel them back into first place when Jake Peavy takes the mound on Sunday night. Is the right hander nervous about being thrown into the pennant race on national television?

“That doesn’t bother me. I’m excited to get here and pitch. That’s what I know. I’m excited to get out there tomorrow night, not a whole lot of time to think about things. We’ll get here early tomorrow to do some cramming…I expect to win.”