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Chase Utley helps Clayton Kershaw complete Dodgers sweep of Giants

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Chase Utley hit his first home run as a Dodger broke a tie to support another stellar effort by Clayton Kershaw, lifting the Dodgers to a 2-1 win over the Giants to complete a three-game series sweep.

After three one-run wins over their rivals in three nights, the Dodgers own a 6½-game lead in the National League West. The magic number to clinch the division is 24.

Kershaw was brilliant, allowing just five singles and a walk while striking out a career-high-tying 15 in his third complete game of the season and 20th of his career.

That gave Kershaw a major-league-leading 251 strikeouts on the season, surpassing his previous career high of 248, set in 2011. Kershaw's strikeout total this season is the most by a Dodgers pitcher since Sandy Koufax struck out 317 in 1966.

The run Kershaw allowed came in the sixth inning on a ground ball RBI single off the glove of Justin Turner at third base and into left field, tying the game at 1-1.

Utley followed in the bottom of the inning with a one-out blast over the right center field wall off Mike Leake, reclaiming the lead for the Dodgers.

Pickoff machine

The first three hitters who reached base against Kershaw were all picked off, or at least called out at one point on a pickoff play. Buster Posey singled in the second inning, then was called safe on a pickoff by Kershaw, but the Dodgers successfully challenged the call.

In the sixth inning, Kelby Tomlinson walked then with one out was called out on a pickoff but the Giants successfully got that overturned. The call was huge because Tomlinson stole second then scored the tying run on a single by Pagan.

Kershaw then picked Pagan off, too. That gave Kershaw seven pickoffs on the season, one more than teammate Brett Anderson for the major league lead. Kershaw's 55 career pickoffs are the most in baseball since 2008, seven more than Mark Buehrle.

Wednesday particulars

Home run: Chase Utley (6)

WP - Clayton Kershaw (12-6): 9 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 15 strikeouts

LP - Mike Leake (9-7): 7 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 3 strikeouts