Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw is winner in a real-deal duel
Reporting from San Francisco -- There will come a day when an old man will sit in his rocking chair and tell his grandchildren he was at AT&T Park on a night like Friday night.
He will tell the kids how he saw Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum go head-to-head, matching each other zero for zero, much the way his own grandfather used to tell him about Sandy Koufax and Juan Marichal.
The stories will increase in magnificence with each retelling, Kershaw’s curveball becoming this much sharper and Lincecum’s fastball that much more electric.
But for now, Matt Kemp’s description will suffice.
“Two dominating pitchers,” Kemp said. “Both of them have great stuff. Lincecum’s won two Cy Youngs. Kershaw, I feel, this should be his year to win a Cy Young. Two great pitchers going at it. We came out on top today.”
The Dodgers’ come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants marked Kershaw’s third win in as many meetings with Lincecum this season.
Kershaw held the Giants to an unearned run, three hits and a walk over eight innings. He struck out nine, lowered his earned-run average to a league-leading 2.36 and became the first Dodger to win 18 games since Chan Ho Park in 2000.
Lincecum, who wasn’t charged with the loss, limited the Dodgers to a run and six hits in nine innings.
“Just trying to match him,” Kershaw said. “He’s an awesome pitcher, obviously. You know it’s going to be a low-scoring game.”
Perhaps the greatest testament to their dominance was how the opposition managed to score against them.
The run charged to Kershaw was unearned, the result of a throwing error by rookie shortstop Dee Gordon that allowed Justin Christian to reach base on the first play of the game. Christian stole second and scored on a hit to left field by Pablo Sandoval.
The Dodgers had trouble making up the 1-0 deficit, but Kershaw didn’t back down. From the start of the second inning to the end of the seventh he faced the minimum number of batters.
In the eighth inning, with Lincecum still on the mound, the Dodgers finally broke through.
The two-out single that started the comeback came on what was one of the weakest balls Kemp has hit this season — a dribbler down the third base line. “I’ll take a hit any way I can,” he said. “A hit is a hit. I had to find a way to get it done.”
Kemp moved into scoring position by stealing his 38th base, and Juan Rivera singled him in. The score was tied, 1-1.
Santiago Casilla pitched the ninth inning for the Giants and the Dodgers immediately capitalized on Lincecum’s absence.
Rod Barajas led off with a single and pinch-runner Eugenio Velez was sacrificed to second by Justin Sellers. A wild pitch moved Velez to third, and he scored on pinch-hitter Jamey Carroll’s grounder to second baseman Jeff Keppinger. Velez beat the throw home.
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