Clayton Kershaw pitches Los Angeles Dodgers to win over San Francisco Giants

By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange  |  April 26, 2017 at 12:41 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Having lost six consecutive games at AT&T Park to the rival San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles Dodgers treated the Tuesday matchup with much more importance than that average April duel between two sub-.500 teams.

How important was it? When the first Giants batter of the game, Hunter Pence, hit a grounder toward the middle of the diamond, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw sprawled out like an NHL goalie trying to stop a shot in the Stanley Cup finals.

The result was a bruised calf, but also the first of 21 outs Kershaw recorded while limiting the Giants to one run over seven innings in a 2-1 victory.

"I would do it again to get an out," Kershaw said after he had teamed with a pair of relievers on an eight-hitter.

Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez had RBIs in a two-run fourth inning that provided all the offense the Dodgers pitchers needed to deliver a second win in five games on the club's current road trip.

"I always want to win," Kershaw said while labeling his calf injury nothing more than an annoyance. "It feels good to get a win. We've been struggling here. That's no secret."

Kershaw (4-1) got the better of Giants lefty Ty Blach (0-1), who had pitched the Giants to a 3-0 win over the Dodgers ace last October.

"Ty did a really nice job for his first start (of the year)," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Kept us in the game against a pretty tough pitcher and gave us a chance to win the game. Just a nice effort."

In running his career record against the Giants to 19-8, Kershaw allowed six hits and one walk. He struck out seven. He was removed from the game after throwing 90 pitches.

"Courageous effort," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He knew what this game meant for us. This was a must-win for us. I can't say enough."

Right-hander Pedro Baez retired the only two Giants he faced to start the eighth inning before Kenley Jansen came on and surrendered back-to-back singles to Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford.

Crawford strained his right groin rounding first base on his hit and had to be removed for a pinch runner.

With runners at first and third, Jansen struck out pinch hitter Brandon Belt on a full count to preserve the 2-1 lead.

Jansen then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save.

Justin Turner had two singles for the Dodgers (10-11), who were held to seven hits by five Giants pitchers.

Posey had two hits for the Giants (7-14), who had won Monday's first game of the series by the same 2-1 count.

The Dodgers ended a 14-inning scoreless streak against Blach when a leadoff walk to Corey Seager and successive singles by Turner and Puig produced a run that tied the game 1-1 in the fourth.

Turner put the Dodgers ahead for good when he raced home from third as Posey, playing first base, threw to second on Gonzalez's grounder.

After forcing out Puig at second, Giants shortstop Crawford threw to the plate, but Turner slid in safely as a low throw eluded catcher Nick Hundley.

"(Buster) did the right thing," the Giants' Bochy said of the throw to second to start the play. "It was almost very well executed, but the throw (by Crawford to the plate) was a little low. That's a tough play for a catcher. If he would have picked it or if the throw was on the money, I think we would have had Turner."

Blach was pulled after five innings, having allowed two runs and four hits. He walked one and struck out two.

The Giants scored first in the bottom of the second after a double by Blach, who collected two hits in his start against Kershaw last season.

Blach advanced to third on an infield hit by Pence, and he scored on Posey's two-out single.

NOTES: The Dodgers promoted one of their top prospects, INF/OF Cody Bellinger, from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game and started him in left field. The 21-year-old got his first major league hit and finished 1-for-3 with a walk. ... Giants INF Christian Arroyo, called up Monday, also recorded his first big-league hit, a first-inning single. ... To make room for Bellinger on the active roster, the Dodgers demoted OF Brett Eibner to Triple-A for the second time in three days. The club designated minor league pitcher RHP Joe Gunkel for assignment in order to add Bellinger to the 40-man roster. ... The Dodgers will have to do further body-shuffling Thursday when they plan to promote LHP Julio Urias from Triple-A to start the series finale. ... Further examination of Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner's injured left shoulder revealed a separation. His recovery time is now projected to be two months. ... Giants RHP Matt Cain underwent an MRI on the slightly strained right hamstring that forced him out of Monday's series opener after five innings. It revealed no damage, and Cain is expected to make his next start -- Saturday against San Diego -- as scheduled.

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