SAN FRANCISCO -- Those who watch Clayton Kershaw up close know all about his no-nonsense approach to his profession. Everybody else got to see it Wednesday.
When the benches cleared between the top and bottom of the third inning because Giants starter Johnny Cueto accused the Dodgers of stealing signs, Kershaw parted the sea of players squaring off and marched right to the mound, intent on continuing his part of what became a 6-1 Dodgers win that avoided a series sweep.
"Just a lot of talk, so I was just going to keep on playing, if it's the same to everyone else," said Kershaw, who allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings.
Yasmani Grandal, right in the middle of all the noise, said Kershaw demonstrated one more attribute that makes him the player that he is.
"That's pretty much what you want to see from your starter," said Grandal, whose two-run double in the first inning on a pitch nearly in the dirt helped set off Cueto's suspicions. "He concentrates on the goal. Today, that was winning the game. That tells you he's in the zone and not worried about too many things."
Kershaw became a 20-game winner against the Giants (20-9, 1.63 ERA in his career), and just as remarkably, 12-4 with a 1.30 ERA at AT&T Park. He struck out five without a walk, and no Giant reached second base. He retired the first 10 batters he faced and by then the Dodgers led, 3-0, with Yasiel Puig later tacking on a two-run single as the Dodgers scored five of their runs with two outs.
Perfectionist that he is, Kershaw wouldn't even concede that his slider was markedly better in this game, as that would imply that it wasn't as good in previous ones, although that's exactly the way manager Dave Roberts saw it.
"The first game for me in a while where the slider was almost back to where it needs to be and he expects it to be," said Roberts. "Many more good ones than the ones that don't have the depth."
"There were some good ones today. There were some bad ones," Kershaw said. "It was a good day, not a lot of stress, not a lot in scoring position. I'll definitely take it."
So will the Dodgers, as Kershaw played the customary stopper to end a three-game losing streak. It also meant Kershaw is 94-5 in games in which the Dodgers scored at least four runs, according to Elias.
"With Clayton, the record speaks for itself, he smells blood," said Roberts. "Talk about going for the jugular."
Kershaw is 7-2 with a 2.15 ERA. The Dodgers are 16-16 in games he doesn't pitch, which is why he is who he is.
"I feel we need to win every time," said Kershaw. "When all is said and done, it feels good to win, and after three [losses] in a row, feels even better."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.