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Clayton Kershaw leaves with low back pain as Dodgers sweep Giants

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Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday afternoon.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday afternoon. Kershaw left the game before the start of the fifth inning with an apparent injury.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw exits before the start of the fifth inning with low back pain during the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Clayton Kershaw’s latest injury overshadows Dodgers’ sweep of the Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Clayton Kershaw knew right away that something was wrong.

Before the start of the bottom of the fifth inning Thursday afternoon at Oracle Park, Kershaw was throwing warm-up pitches when he said he “felt something kind of lock up” in his lower back.

It was an immediate red flag for a left-hander with a history of back problems, including a month-long absence earlier this season because of SI joint inflammation that caused lower back pain.

Kershaw tried to throw another warm-up pitch, but was clearly still in discomfort.

He motioned for a trainer, uttered “It’s my back” as he walked off the mound, then made his way slowly to the dugout, appearing to grimace as he disappeared down the tunnel to the clubhouse.

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Final: Dodgers win 5-3 to complete four-game sweep

The Dodgers completed a four-game sweep of the Giants — their second since the All-Star break — with a 5-2 win.

They are now 72-33 on the season and have won seven of eight games on this road trip.

However, the uncertain status of Clayton Kershaw will loom largest postgame after he left before the fifth inning with low back pain.

Final: Dodgers 5, Giants 3

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Tempers flare as Dodgers extend lead on Trea Turner home run

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler argues with umpire Phil Cuzzi.
San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, left, argues with umpire Phil Cuzzi after being ejected in the sixth inning Thursday.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Tempers flared at the end of the sixth inning, seemingly over the Dodgers head-tap celebration.

After Jarlin Garcia struck out Cody Bellinger, cameras caught the Giants reliever appearing to mimicking the Dodgers’ celebration — in which they tap their helmet with a closed fist after getting a hit.

In the next at-bat, Garcia struck out James Outman to end the inning. As he walked off the mound, he pointed at Mookie Betts in the on-deck circle and then mimicked the celebration again.

Betts and Garcia shared some words, with umpires keeping them separated.

Then, as Garcia walked into the dugout, first base umpire Phil Cuzzi came over and told Kapler something while pointing at Garcia — sparking a heated argument between the two that eventually led to Kapler being ejected.

Ironically, in the top of the seventh, the Dodgers got a solo home run from Trea Turner, whose fandom of the movie “Wolf of Wall Street” was the origin of the Dodgers’ head-tap routine, copying a scene from the film.

As Turner rounded third — directly in front of the Giants dugout — he tapped his head.

Mid 7th: Dodgers lead 5-2

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Clayton Kershaw leaves game with low back pain before the fifth inning with trainer

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts giving up a two-run home run to San Francisco's J.D. Davis.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts giving up a two-run home run to San Francisco’s J.D. Davis in the second inning Thursday.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Clayton Kershaw left today’s game before the fifth inning with low back pain, the Dodgers said.

Kershaw knew right away that something was wrong while warming up before the fifth inning.

After one pitch, Kershaw seemed to feel something in his back.

Kershaw tried to throw another warm-up pitch, but was clearly still in discomfort.

He motioned for a trainer, appeared to say, “It’s my back,” then slowly walked off the field and into the dugout, disappearing down the tunnel to the clubhouse with a grimace on his face.

It’s a red flag for a left-hander with a history of back problems, including a month-long absence earlier this year because of SI joint inflammation that caused his lower back pain.

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Dodgers retake the lead on Mookie Betts’ three-run homer

With two on and two outs in the fourth inning, and Mookie Betts coming to the plate for a third time, Giants manager Gabe Kapler decided to make an early move to his bullpen.

Out went starter Jakob Junis. In came reliever John Brebbia.

It didn’t work.

In a 1-and-1 count, Brebbia threw an elevated fastball that Betts crushed to left center, hitting a three-run homer that put the Dodgers back in front.

It was Betts’ 25th home run of the season.

End 4th: Dodgers lead 4-2

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Dodgers strike first, then Giants go in front on JD Davis home run

Joey Gallo struck out in his first at-bat as a Dodger, but the team still took the lead during the second inning after Max Muncy doubled and Gavin Lux drove him home with a single.

In the bottom half of the frame, however, the Giants immediately flipped the script. After Muncy made an error at third, Clayton Kershaw threw an outside changeup that JD Davis drove the other way for a two-run home run.

For Kershaw, it was only the fourth changeup he’s thrown since the start of June.

End 2nd: Giants lead 2-1

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Joey Gallo to make Dodgers debut

Joey Gallo walks to the dugout before the Dodgers' win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Joey Gallo will take the field for the Dodgers for the first time on Thursday afternoon, as they go for a sweep of the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park.

Gallo was acquired in a deadline day trade Tuesday, and will bat sixth and play left field.

“Just to get him back in there, get his feet under him as far as a game played, we both felt good about that,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I’m excited to get him back out there.”

While Gallo struggled mightily with the Yankees, the Dodgers have identified some mechanical things in his swing they think “we can clean up to make him a better player,” Roberts said.

“I think Joey has a great approach. He understands which part of the zone he’s really good at,” Roberts continued. “But the way his body is working, it doesn’t allow the mechanics to work the way they should be. I think in this particular case, it’s largely mechanical.”

Here’s the Dodgers full lineup, with left-hander Clayton Kershaw (7-3, 2.66 ERA) on the mound against Giants right-hander Jakob Junis (4-2, 2.78 ERA):

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Julio Urías is fast becoming the ace the Dodgers need

Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías delivers in the first inning of a 3-0 win over the Giants on Wednesday.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO — The same Julio Urías, the same dominant weapon the Dodgers have watched emerge since last summer, toed the mound Tuesday night. He was electric again, continuing a year-long stretch in which he has become one of the best starting pitchers in the major leagues.

What was different Tuesday at Oracle Park, as he sliced through the San Francisco Giants for six innings before finding some bad luck in the seventh, was his place in the Dodgers’ plans.

Urias’ role for the postseason isn’t uncertain this time around — not after the Dodgers failed to acquire a starting pitcher before Tuesday’s trade deadline. As it stands, he’s not a piece that will shift between the starting rotation and bullpen in October. He’s a bona fide starter. He just might be the ace the club needs.

“He’s really important,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the Dodgers’ 3-0 win. “Obviously, what he’s done and performed, and how he’s performed as a starting pitcher, the swing and miss, the length, the efficiency, the stuff. So, yeah, we’re counting on Julio, absolutely.”

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How to watch and stream the Dodgers this season

Here’s a look at the Dodgers broadcast and streaming schedule for the remainder of the 2022 regular season:

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