Clinchin' Kershaw: LA wins West, KOs Giants

Clinchin' Kershaw: LA wins West, KOs Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Reigning MVP Clayton Kershaw pitched the Dodgers to their third consecutive National League West title Tuesday night, besting Madison Bumgarner with a one-hit masterpiece and 8-0 shutout over the defending world champion and arch-rival Giants.

"It feels good to win it," said a champagne-soaked Don Mattingly, the first Dodgers manager to win three straight titles. "I have so much respect for the Giants and Bruce Bochy. They've got a championship-caliber team. Honestly, I didn't want to lose this game tonight and have to go from there. But our guys really battled."

Mattingly on NL West title

Kershaw became the second pitcher in MLB history to throw a shutout of one hit or less in a division-clinching start. The first came on a no-hitter from Astros right-hander Mike Scott against the Giants in 1986.

"Clayton was really crisp tonight," said Mattingly. "We really wanted to make Bumgarner work, push his pitch count up early. We got a run early after the error (by Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson) and got another run so Kersh could pitch with a lead."

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The victory -- ending losing streaks of four games overall and seven games at AT&T Park -- pulled the Dodgers one game behind the Mets for home-field advantage in the playoffs, although the Mets own the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Dodgers and Mets will face each other in the Division Series, with the NL Central champion taking on the winner of the Wild Card Game.

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Kiké Hernandez, Justin Ruggiano and A.J. Ellis homered off Bumgarner, the latter two back-to-back in the sixth inning to chase the Giants' ace. Kershaw allowed only a one-out single to Kevin Frandsen in the third inning and at the plate helped run up Bumgarner's pitch count with a 13-pitch at-bat in the fifth inning.

Dodgers go back-to-back in 6th

Kershaw (16-7 on the season and 9-3 career at AT&T Park), who also clinched the division last year by beating the Giants, struck out 13, including a stretch of 11 out of 13 batters from the fifth through ninth innings. He defeated Bumgarner (18-9) for the first time in their four meetings this year and his second win in their seven career meetings.

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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Welcome back: Hernandez, who had two hits Monday night entering in a double-switch, started his first game since returning from the disabled list and homered, singled, scored twice and reached on an error. Hernandez took the center-field job back from Joc Pederson.

"I knew what I needed to do to be ready to jump back in there and pick up where I left off," Hernandez said.

Statcast: Hernandez's big homer

Struggles up the middle: Kelby Tomlinson, who had his best defensive game as a pro in Monday's win, was unable to field a potential double-play ball in the first inning leading to an early run. Then in the fifth, All-Star Brandon Crawford backhanded a grounder off the bat of Hernandez and threw too low for Buster Posey, driving Bumgarner's pitch count up to 100 by the end of the frame.

Great glovework: The Giants were robbed of two potential hits. Third baseman Justin Turner charged Marlon Byrd's tapper and threw him out in the second inning and Ruggiano made a running catch near the foul line of Buster Posey's line drive in the fourth.

"They were swinging early in the counts, which kept my pitch count down, and I got some great defensive plays from Turner and Ruggiano on line drives that were huge," Kershaw said.

Turner mans the hot corner

Missed chance: Two batters after Frandsen's one-out single the third inning, Angel Pagan's two-out walk gave San Francisco its first runner in scoring position. But Tomlinson hit a comebacker to Kershaw to squander the Giants' lone chance at a run as they would not get another runner to second base in the game.

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QUOTABLE
"They won three World Series in the past five years. We might have clinched the division, but they still are in a better spot than we are. That's what we're trying to get to." -- Kershaw on the Giants

Kershaw's gem clinches NL West

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Kershaw's 294 strikeouts are the most in MLB since 2002, when Randy Johnson had 324 and Curt Schilling had 316.

Kershaw on division title

WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: Mike Bolsinger, who starts in the 7:15 p.m. matchup on Wednesday, was a pleasant first-half surprise, but hasn't been the same since getting a September callup. He has an 8.66 ERA in his last four starts. In four career starts against the Giants, he is 0-3 with a 4.56 ERA.

Giants: San Francisco turns to Mike Leake, who is 1-5 with a 4.86 since being dealt from Cincinnati at the Trade Deadline. The right-hander will look to improve on his last outing in Oakland in which he allowed four runs on six hits in six innings of work.

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Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.