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Clayton Kershaw masterful yet again as Los Angeles Dodgers breeze past San Francisco Giants

By
Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) delivers a pitch. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) delivers a pitch. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

SAN FRANCISCO -- Clayton Kershaw silenced the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.

Well, 24 of them, anyway.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander won his 20th career game against the Giants, preventing a three-game sweep with seven innings of shutout ball in a 6-1 triumph that featured accusations of sign-stealing.

Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig had two-out, two-run hits for the Dodgers, who completed a 3-4 trip by snapping a three-game losing streak.

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"For us, it couldn't have played out any better," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the combination of Kershaw's pitching and his club's clutch hitting.

Kershaw didn't need any help in becoming the majors' second seven-game winner. But his counterpart, Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto, thought the Dodgers were helping each other solve his often baffling array of pitches.

According to Roberts, Cueto accused the Dodgers' Corey Seager of stealing Giants catcher Buster Posey's signs while on second base in the third inning and relaying them to the batter, Grandal.

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When Cueto caught wind of it, he threw high and tight to Grandal, a ball that eluded Posey for a wild pitch that allowed the Dodgers' third run of the game to score.

Grandal eventually flied out, but tempers flared when Cueto made his feelings known to the Dodgers before leaving the mound, prompting an incident-free emptying of the benches.

"I'm not going to use that as an excuse," Cueto said. "but they were relaying signs."

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Roberts didn't deny the Dodgers were doing it.

"If we did, it's part of the game," he insisted. "Obviously, he (Cueto) was displeased."

The Giants never had the opportunity to try the stunt on Kershaw and his catcher, Grandal, because they never got a baserunner to second base.

The only Giant to touch second base in the game as a baserunner was Eduardo Nunez on his one-out solo home run in the ninth.

Kershaw credited Grandal's two-run double in the first inning as making his day a lot easier.

"Got those runs early off Cueto and I just had to try to make them hold up," he said. "Cueto is one of those guys who settles down. To get a couple of guys on early and get them in, that's huge.

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"This was a good day. Not a lot of stress. Not a lot of guys in scoring position. I'll definitely take it."

Kershaw once again demonstrated his brilliant form at AT&T Park, winning for the 12th time in 20 career appearances while lowing his ERA there to 1.29.

He is 20-9 overall against the Giants with a 1.62 ERA.

Kershaw (7-2) allowed singles to Justin Ruggiano, Buster Posey and pinch-hitter Nick Hundley in his seven innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.

He is now 90-0 in his career when he gets four or more runs of offensive support.

"With Clayton, the record when he gets four runs speaks for itself," Roberts said. "He smells blood. He's such a competitor."

The Dodgers gave their ace all the support he would need before he even took the mound, scoring twice in the first inning on Grandal's hit that followed a single by Seager and a double by Justin Turner.

Ahead 3-0, the Dodgers broke the game open in the sixth with another two-run uprising that featured Puig's two-out, two-run single. Turner, who had singled, and Cody Bellinger, who had doubled, scored the runs that made it a 5-0 game.

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Cueto (4-3) was pulled after six innings, having allowed five runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out six.

"What set him back today were a couple two-out, two-strike hits," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was close to getting out of it. Give them credit. It's a fine line between winning and losing. They got the key hits. You're a pitch away from getting out of it a couple times."

Bellinger's second double of the game plated Seager, who had walked, with the Dodgers' final run in the seventh inning off Giants reliever Josh Osich.

Seager, Turner and Bellinger had two hits apiece for the Dodgers, who out-hit the Giants 9-4.

The Giants ended the Dodgers' shutout bid when Nunez hit a solo home run off reliever Sergio Romo in the ninth. The homer was Nunez's first of the season.

The loss snapped the Giants' five-game winning streak. They completed a seven-game homestand with single losses sandwiching the five straight wins.

"It was a good homestand for us. It's a start," Bochy said. "The thing I do like about this team is the sense of confidence."

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NOTES: The only pitcher since 1920 with a lower career ERA against a single opponent than LHP Clayton Kershaw's 1.62 against the Giants was LHP Sandy Koufax, who had a 1.44 ERA against the New York Mets. ... The RBI by Dodgers rookie LF Cody Bellinger was his 18th in May, tops in the majors. ... The Giants have homered in 10 straight games. Their last 13 home runs have come with the bases empty. ... The Giants reinstated RHP Mark Melancon (strained right pronator) from the disabled list before the game and demoted INF/OF Kelby Tomlinson to Triple-A Sacramento.

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