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Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers stick to formula, return to first place

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The Dodgers clinched a series win on Saturday, snapping a skid of five straight series losses to the Giants.

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Clayton Kershaw won his ninth straight decision on Saturday night, continuing his master of the Giants with a two-hit shutout in the Dodgers' 5-0 win at AT&T Park in San Francisco, vaulting Los Angeles into first place by a half-game in the National League West.

Kershaw allowed just two hits and a walk on Saturday, improving to 9-0 with a 0.94 ERA in his last 10 starts, allowing eight runs and eight walks during that span to go with 95 strikeouts.

He lowered his career ERA against the Giants to 1.40 in 23 games, including 22 starts. At AT&T Park it's even better, at 0.69 in 11 games, including 10 starts.

It was the fourth complete game and second shutout of the season for Kershaw, and ninth shutout of his career. Four of his nine shutouts have been against the Giants. He needed 113 pitches to finish his seventh scoreless start of the season, just the second time Kershaw has topped 110 pitches all season.

For a while, Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong matched zeroes with Kershaw, retiring the first 11 batters he faced. But with two outs in the fourth Adrian Gonzalez hit a ball to right field that would have normally been caught, only to drop as Hunter Pence lost the ball in the sun. The Dodgers cashed in their most gift-wrapped run of the season when Hanley Ramirez dropped a fly ball single well in front of glove-wearing spectator Michael Morse in left field for a 1-0 lead.

The Dodgers were able to tack on runs the rest of the way, including three straight singles in the fifth, an RBI double by Juan Uribe in the sixth, and an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh.

Gonzalez was 3-for-5 with two doubles on Saturday and since the All-Star break is 13-for-31 (.420) with five extra-base hits and eight RBI in eight games.

Up next

Hyun-jin Ryu gets the call for the Dodgers in the series finale on Sunday, with former Dodger abuser Jake Peavy making his Giants debut trying to prevent the sweep on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.

Saturday particulars

Home runs: none

WP - Clayton Kershaw (12-2): 9 IP,  2 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts

LP - Ryan Vogelsong (5-8): 6 IP, 8 hits, 4 runs (2 earned runs), 1 walk, 4 strikeouts