The Los Angeles Dodgers’ big win Saturday set the stage for a key rubber match game Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants’ win Friday cut the Dodgers’ lead in the National League West to one game, however by winning Saturday the Dodgers ensured themselves first place in the division regardless of Sunday’s outcome.
With Clayton Kershaw on the mound, the Dodgers gave their ace a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Kershaw allowed the Giants to score a run in the third inning, but then kept them off the board as the Dodgers failed to provide more run support.
Matt Kemp eventually added to the slim lead with a two-run home run in the sixth inning, which paid off considering the Giants scored a second run off Kershaw in the seventh.
The Dodger ace fought control issues on his breaking balls for much of the game, but still managed to collect nine strikeouts. Already having thrown 104 pitches, Kershaw took the mound in the bottom of the eighth to face the Giants’ 2-3-4 hitters.
Kershaw retired Joe Panik with one pitch, then convinced manager Don Mattingly to let him remain in the game. The southpaw rewarded his manager’s trust by striking out Buster Posey and getting Hunter Pence to fly out.
The outing was Kershaw’s seventh straight with at least eight innings pitched and the win was an MLB-best 19th of the season.