Giants swept into first-place tie by Dodgers

Giants swept into first-place tie by Dodgers

Giants swept into first-place tie by Dodgers
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants had no answers against Clayton Kershaw in Sunday's 4-0 loss, and the Dodgers left town with a three-game sweep and having reshaped the dynamic of the National League West race by regaining a share of the division lead.

A month earlier, it was the Giants' masterful pitching that led them to a series sweep to pull into a first-place tie, but the Dodgers shut out the Giants on Sunday for the second straight game to hand San Francisco its fourth series sweep of the season.

"Unfortunately in this game you're going to get it handed to you sometimes," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I don't care who you are, it's going to happen to you sometimes. It was the opposite of what happened last time. That's baseball."

The Dodgers ended the series by holding the Giants scoreless for the last 20 innings, posting back-to-back shutouts in San Francisco for the first time. The series sweep tied the two in-state rivals atop the division standings for the first time since June 27 as they prepare to battle it out in the remaining two months of the season.

"Any time you sweep the Giants at home, regardless of what happened the previous series, it's a big deal," Kershaw said. "We've got some momentum going back and we've got to be ready for the Diamondbacks."

As the Giants' struggles at the plate continued, Kershaw extended his career-long dominance against the Giants. He scattered five hits in his fifth career shutout, lowering his ERA against the Giants to 1.32, the lowest among active pitchers (minimum 75 inning pitched).

"He kept the ball down and over the plate. He didn't make many mistakes," center fielder Angel Pagan said. "When a pitcher comes dead on like that, it's tough to get runs."

Kershaw outdueled Ryan Vogelsong, who gave up two runs (one earned) in six innings for his 16th straight quality start and 18th overall in the losing effort. The fiery right-hander's ERA improved to a Major League-best 2.22.

"Our guy threw great; he gave us what we expected," Bochy said. "I'll take that start any time."

Matt Kemp scored from third to break the scoreless tie in the fourth when Hanley Ramirez beat out a potential double-play ball. The inning was extended when third baseman Marcos Scutaro dropped a two-out popup in the infield, with Ramirez reaching third on the play and later scoring on Luis Cruz's double.

"I need to pick him up right there and come back and get the next guy so it's not an issue," Vogelsong said about Scutaro's error. "I felt worse about not picking him up after that play than anything else today."

The Dodgers got two more runs in the top of the eighth when Cruz's single scored James Loney, who had reached on a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Affeldt was replaced later in the inning by George Kontos, who gave up a Mark Ellis single that drove in Cruz from second.

Cruz's two-RBI day also extended his hitting streak to 12 games, a season-best for any Dodgers batter.

Vogelsong had bested Kershaw in their previous two matchups this season, having entered Sunday's game with a 0.63 ERA in the two wins against Kershaw and the Dodgers.

"That's what happens when you're facing one of the best pitchers in the game right now," Vogelsong said. "One mistake, one run can cost you the game."

The series marked the first time the Giants were swept at home by the Dodgers since June 28-30, 2010. The Giants have now dropped four straight after winning nine of their first 11 games since the All-Star break, and they finish the current 10-game homestand with a four-game set against the Mets.

"If anything, I think it makes us a little mad, and you have to take it out on the Mets coming in here," Vogelsong said. "I hope that's what we do."

Jay Lee is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.