SAN FRANCISCO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to be rising to the occasion FOR their most highly anticipated series.
They beat the San Francisco Giants 5-0 Saturday night behind another shutdown outing from Clayton Kershaw to recapture first place in the NL West. After losing seven of the first 10 games the teams played, they have outscored San Francisco 13-1 in the first two games of this series. Kershaw was virtually untouchable in pitching his fourth complete game and second shutout of the season.
How it happened: The Giants were able to put the ball in play against Kershaw -- he had a relatively modest strikeout total of seven -- but it was generally feeble contact, and he never looked threatened or even particularly bothered. Meanwhile, the Dodgers buried Ryan Vogelsong in a flurry of small blows. They bunched three straight singles to score a run in the fifth and rallyied for two in the fifth aided by Dan Uggla's throwing error.
Hits: The Dodgers would take their chances behind Kershaw against any team, the 1927 Yankees included. But it doesn't hurt matters that he matches up brilliantly against their biggest rival. In his career, Kershaw is 12-6 with a 1.41 ERA against San Francisco. Then again, these days other teams just look like speed bumps in Kershaw's path to another Cy Young. Starting with his June 18 near-perfect no-hitter, he's 6-0 with a 0.63 ERA.
Misses: It has been a nagging worry all season, and now that Hanley Ramirez is healthy again, it has returned. Ramirez misplayed a backhand chance hit by Joaquin Arias in the sixth inning for his first error since the no-hitter. Then again, Ramirez had played only 12 errorless game in the interim. If nothing else, the Dodgers are going to need to keep Miguel Rojas around as a late-game defensive replacement. He came in to play shortstop late once again.
Stat of the game: In 11 appearances at AT&T Park, Kershaw has given up one home run. It was hit by Melky Cabrera in 2012. Kershaw's ERA at this stadium is 0.69.
Up next: The Dodgers go for the sweep Sunday behind Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-5, 3.39 ERA) in a game televised by ESPN at 5:07 p.m. The Dodgers will face newly acquired right-hander Jake Peavy (1-9, 4.72 ERA). The game will not be blacked out in Southern California.