On Sunday morning the Dodgers will wake to find life is good, very good. The next morning, who knows? But for now, very good indeed.
They sent out Clayton Kershaw to start Saturday against the Giants, which is getting to be almost unfair, and he delivered as usual, pitching a two-hitter in the Dodgers’ 5-0 victory at AT&T Park.
The victory pushed the Dodgers back into first place in the National League West, half a game ahead of the Giants.
After having also stunned the Giants, 8-1, on Friday, the victory also assured the Dodgers will take the three-game series. And since the Giants had won five consecutive series against the Dodgers, that had to feel pretty good too.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is scheduled to start for the Dodgers on Sunday, but he will be hard pressed to improve upon the performance of Kershaw on Saturday night.
Kershaw gave up a first-inning single to Gregor Blanco and then retired the next 12 Giants before issuing a one-out walk in the fifth. He did not give up another hit until Michael Morse singled off the glove of Dee Gordon with two outs in the seventh.
The left-hander walked one and struck out seven. He almost seemed to get stronger as the game wore on.
Kershaw (12-2) has been on a roll, even by his standards. He won his ninth consecutive decision, the first time that has been done by a Dodger since Kevin Brown in 2003. He has a 0.94 earned-run average in the 10 starts of that streak.
It all looked pretty familiar to the Giants, particularly in their home ballpark. In career starts at AT&T Park, Kershaw is 7-2 with a 0.69 ERA.
Like I said, almost unfair.
Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong matched Kershaw early, retiring his first 11 batters, but Adrian Gonzalez doubled with two outs in the fourth and scored on a Hanley Ramirez single, and Kershaw had the only run he would need.
Consecutive singles by Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Juan Uribe scored one a run in the fifth, and then the Dodgers all but broke it open with two runs in the sixth. A single by Yasiel Puig – clearly forgetting how to hit a triple – and a double by Gonzalez, preceeded a bouncer from Crawford. Dan Uggla fielded it, but his throw to the plate was off and Puig scored. Uribe doubled in one more and it was 4-0 Dodgers.
The Dodgers added one more against reliever Jean Machi in the seventh after Gordon singled and took second on a fielder’s choice. The third hit of the night by Gonzalez drove in Gordon.
The rest was left to Kershaw, who completed his second shutout of the season. The other, of course, was a no-hitter.