Kershaw, 5-0 against the Giants last year en route to a Cy Young Award, pitched eight innings, the Giants scoring only on Brett Pill's two-run homer in the second inning. But that was more than the Dodgers could muster, as Ryan Vogelsong contained them to one run in 7 1/3 innings on second-inning doubles by Andre Ethier and James Loney.
The Dodgers had more chances to score but hit into four double plays, two of them by Ethier. One double play came on a Juan Uribe sacrifice-bunt attempt with runners on first and second and no outs in the seventh inning. Another came after manager Don Mattingly had Mark Ellis successfully bunt with no outs and runners on first and second in the eighth inning.
That left first base open with Kemp up, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy walked him intentionally to load the bases and bring up Ethier. Bochy countered with lefty Javier Lopez, who got Ethier on a 6-4-3 inning killer.
"I wouldn't change anything. We've just got to execute, that's all," Mattingly said when pressed about his strategy. "The one [bunt leading to Kemp's walk], I'd do it all the time, to get Andre with the bases loaded and one out. I'd take that every day. He's leading the league in RBIs. We didn't finish the deal. And Juan, he's not trying to bunt the ball that soft. Nothing in those decisions I'd look back and change."
Uribe's double-play bunt dropped in front of the plate and was fielded by catcher Buster Posey, who threw to third, where Rivera was out and out of the game. Rivera missed six starts at the end of April with discomfort where the hamstring meets the knee. As he slid into third on Uribe's bunt, he felt a pins-and-needles sensation in the same area and was removed.
He will undergo an MRI on Wednesday, with the initial suspicion that it's something nerve related. Now the Dodgers go into the rubber game of the series Wednesday against Tim Lincecum with a lineup pretty nicked up.
They went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, while the Giants had only one at-bat with runners in scoring position. San Francisco won the game in rapid fashion, Kershaw allowing a sharp line single to Posey on the first pitch of the second inning, followed one fastball later by Pill's two-run homer. It was the fifth homer off Kershaw this year compared to 15 all last season.
"What do you mean, a good pitch? He hit it over the fence," Kershaw said, responding to a question. "It was probably a little up. He's on top of the dish and I probably want to get that in more. He put a good swing on the ball."
The Dodgers answered with a run in the bottom of the second off Vogelsong. Ethier led off with a double, tagged to third when Rivera battled back from 0-2 to line out to center and scored on the struggling Loney's double.
Loney embarrassed the Giants with a heads-up unassisted double play in the fourth inning, allowing Joaquin Arias' popup to drop, snagging the ball on one hop to tag out Pill, who had to hold at first, then easily beating to the bag Arias, who jogged out of the batter's box.
The Dodgers tried to rally in the seventh with no-out singles by Rivera and Loney. Uribe, attempting to sacrifice, bunted the ball in front of the plate and catcher Posey turned it into a 2-5-3 double play. Rivera came up slowly and was replaced in left field the following inning. A.J. Ellis popped out to end the inning.
The eighth inning opened with Bobby Abreu, batting for Kershaw, drawing a walk. Dee Gordon dragged a bunt that Vogelsong got to, but couldn't get a grip to throw to first. Mark Ellis bunted the runners to second and third. The Giants walked Kemp intentionally to load the bases for Ethier, and Bochy brought in Lopez, who induced Ethier to ground into his second double play of the game.
The Giants can use the win as proof that Kershaw isn't invincible.
"His numbers speak for themselves," said Vogelsong. "It's no secret how tough he is against us, especially here. I just wanted to make sure when the game was over that I couldn't say that I wasn't focused on every pitch. I really felt like I did a good job of staying concentrated tonight."