Kershaw brought a five-game winning streak against the Giants coming into Tuesday night's contest between the two National League West rivals. The Dodgers' young left-handed ace had a career 1.27 ERA against San Francisco, and the Giants had only beaten him once before last night's game.
The Giants made a statement early. In the top of the second inning, Buster Posey singled on the first pitch he saw--a fastball up.
The next batter, young first baseman Brett Pill, promptly launched a two-run homerun, which gave the Giants a 2-0 lead. The Giants would score no more in the game, but this small offensive outburst proved to be all San Francisco would need.
With the help of Ryan Vogelsong's valiant pitching performance and a few timely double plays, the Giants were able to make two runs stick. The Dodgers scored one run on a James Loney double in the bottom of the second inning but could score no more.
Los Angeles' best scoring chance occurred in the eighth inning. With runners at second and third with one out, The Giants elected to walk Matt Kemp to load the bases for Andre Ethier.
The Dodgers seemed poised to tie the game--and perhaps do more. However, Javier Lopez was summoned from the bullpen to get Ethier out, and he did just that.
The Giants' lefty specialist coaxed Andre Ethier to swing at an outside pitch and roll into a double play. First baseman Brandon Belt was able to scoop a tough hop to complete the pair.
Lopez and Santillago Casilla combined to throw a one-two-three ninth inning.
Vogelsong pitched his best game of the season. In 7 1/3 innings, he yielded just one run on eight hits, while striking out just one.
And thus, the Clayton Kershaw riddle was solved by San Francisco.
The Giants will look to take the series tonight with their ace Tim Lincecum (2-2, 5.68) on the hill. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley (2-2, 3.19).
Here are a few players to watch against Billingsley:
- Brandon Belt, 2-for-5, 1 HR
- Gregor Blanco, 2-for-3, 2 BB
- Buster Posey, 9-for-20 (.450), 4 RBI
- Nate Schierholtz, 8-for-19 (.421), 3 2B
Another interesting point. Many Dodger fans wondered why Mark Ellis was asked to bunt by Don Mattingly in the eighth inning with runners at first and second with nobody out.
The Giants intentionally walked Kemp, which brought out Lopez from the bullpen to face Andre Ethier. Ethier proceeded to roll into an inning-ending double play.
In Mattingly's defense, I think he did the right thing. Andre Ethier is one of the best hitters in the National League, and leads the league with 30 RBIs.
Most managers would probably love to play those odds, but fortunately for the Giants, Ethier rolled over on a great pitch by Lopez
Tonight should be a great pitching matchup. Tune in to NBC Bay Area at 7:00 p.m. for all the action.
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Information from ESPN.com and MLB.com contributed to this article.
By Aunti Juli on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By SD Dirk on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Clayton Kershaw") [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons