Los Angeles Dodgers' starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw winds up to deliver in the fifth inning against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on June 19, 2017. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw has faced the San Francisco Giants enough times in his career to know that it pays to try something different.
The Los Angeles left-hander accomplished that when he induced four ground-ball double plays in the Dodgers' 3-1 victory over the Giants at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
"I don't think I've ever got that many double plays before," he said.
The double duty allowed Kershaw to get away with allowing eight hits in eight innings but just one run, a solo homer by Mac Williamson in the eighth.
"It keeps your pitch count down, gets the game going quick," Kershaw said of the double plays. "I'll take it for sure."
Along the way, Kershaw still struck out six, including his 200th of the season for the seventh time in his 10-year career. He didn't walk a batter in his 93-pitch outing.
"It seemed the balls they hit hard today were on the ground, so thankfully guys were standing there to make outs," Kershaw said.
Kershaw (18-4) leads the major leagues in wins despite missing six weeks this summer with back issues. He lowered his league-leading ERA to 2.21.
Yasmani Grandal drove in all three runs for the Dodgers.
Grandal came in 4-for-49 in September (.082) with 23 strikeouts in 17 games. He gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the second inning and a 3-0 advantage with a two-run homer in the fourth.
"A lot of times, there's nothing you can do about it," Grandal said of his recent slump. "Balls just don't fall in."
Kershaw came in with a career-high five shutouts in 39 starts against San Francisco. Just as Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner did in a 2-1 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night, Kershaw threw seven shutout innings before giving up the home run in the eighth.
"That's in the big part of the park, so it shows how strong he is," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Williamson's blast.
Kershaw struck out Gorkys Hernandez to end the eighth inning and give him 200 for the season. The three-time National League Cy Young winner improved to 22-9 in his career against San Francisco, including 4-1 this season.
Kershaw said getting to 200 strikeouts is mainly important because it demonstrates consistency.
"That's something I think is really important as a starter," he said. "To be up there every fifth day for the whole season."
Brandon Morrow pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save of the season.
Giants starter Chris Stratton (3-4) came in with a 2.17 ERA in his previous six games. He was lifted for a pinch hitter after allowing three runs and five hits in four innings.
"He did fine," Bochy said. "He made the one mistake (to Grandal), but overall it wasn't a bad day for him."
Curtis Granderson, who came in hitting .134 in 31 games since he was acquired by the Dodgers, singled through the shift on the right side to lead off the second inning. Logan Forsythe doubled in right-center field to move Granderson to third. After a lineout to first base by Chase Utley, Grandal lifted his sacrifice fly to left to score Granderson.
Utley reached on an infield single to shallow third with one out in the fourth. Grandal then blasted his 21st homer of the season over the fence in center.
"I didn't think I hit a home run," Grandal said. "I thought it was definitely a double or something, but the ball ended up going over the fence, so I guess it was my lucky day."
NOTES: Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig did not play a day after making the final out trying to steal second base in a 2-1 loss to the Giants. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts was frustrated that Puig tried to steal the base on his own, saying, "It's important that the guys I write in the lineup, I can trust them." ... Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu could miss his final start of the regular season after he was hit in the left forearm by a comebacker on Saturday night and left the game with a contusion. ... San Francisco Giants RF Hunter Pence came in 10-for-76 (.132) in his career against Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw but went 3-for-3 against Kershaw on Sunday.