LOS ANGELES – Clayton Kershaw was all smiles. And maybe, just maybe, a little relieved. He got that old feeling back on Wednesday night.
The feeling of being back in the win column as the Dodgers got past the Giants, 4-2, completing a three-game sweep. With the win, the Dodgers extended their season-high win streak to five games and swept their Bay Area rivals at home for the first time since April 2009.
“Individual wins aren’t something that you can put a whole lot of stock into as a starting pitcher but it’s kind of a team stat and so it feels good to get these wins as a team,” Kershaw said.
The Dodgers’ ace entered the night third in the National League in ERA, second in opponents’ batting average, third in strikeouts, third in innings pitched, and fourth in WHIP but had just a 5-5 record to show for himself.
He was 0-3 in his last six starts but on Wednesday night it all came together for his first win since May 20.
Kershaw (6-5) went eight-plus innings, allowed four hits, two runs and struck out seven.
His lone mistake on the night was a 2-1 pitch that resulted in a two-run homer for Buster Posey over the left field wall in the fourth inning to put the Giants up 2-1.
Aside from that, Kershaw was his usual self against the Giants on Wednesday night, improving to 10-4 lifetime with a 1.33 ERA against them. San Francisco had a plan to try to attack him early in the count. When they weren’t having success it spelled doom.
“You take the risk there when you try to hit him early of leaving his pitch count really low and it allows him to stay in longer,” Mattingly said. “If you don’t get to him, then you got to deal with him all night.”
Run support had been an issue in his previous starts, but the Dodgers offense provided just enough. The 2-4 hitters – Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez – went a combined 7 for 11. Ramirez, who had two of those hits, drove in a run, and scored a run and extended his hitting streak to nine games. He’s also now registered an RBI in six straight games, giving the Dodgers skipper flashbacks.
“I’m watching him tonight and I’m thinking Manny (Ramirez),” Mattingly said. “Honestly, when you see him you think like that. He’s just that good.”
Ramirez scored on an Andre Ethier single to right to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth. A.J. Ellis then doubled to left to knock in Ethier and give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead as part of a three-run sixth inning against Giants starter Tim Lincecum (4-8).
It all equaled win No. 6 on the season for Kershaw, who gets back above the .500 mark on the season.
“I got (the chance) to keep going,” Kershaw said. “I didn’t have to take a loss tonight, so that felt good.
“It’s just fun to come to the clubhouse right now.”