Behind a vintage Clayton Kershaw performance and an offensive explosion, the Los Angeles Dodgers snapped their four-game losing streak Tuesday night, eliminated the San Francisco Giants from postseason contention, and clinched the National League West division for a third straight year.
Beginning with a Kiké Hernandez leadoff single, the Dodgers loaded the bases on Madison Bumgarner with no outs in the first inning. The Giants’ ace managed to escape the trouble by holding the Dodgers to just one run — coming on a Justin Turner sacrifice fly.
Kershaw’s only real brush with trouble on the night came in the third, at the time pitching with a 2-0 lead thanks to Hernadnez’s solo home run. Kershaw allowed a one-out single and his wild pitch allowed Kevin Frandsen to move into scoring position with two outs.
Angel Pagan drew a walk to extend the inning, though San Francisco failed to capitalize as Kelby Tomlinson grounded out. The Dodgers added to their lead in the sixth, behind back-to-back solo home runs from Justin Ruggiano and A.J. Ellis, with the latter of the two knocking Bumgarner out of the game.
Kershaw meanwhile continued to sail, striking out the side in the sixth and seventh innings. With Jeremy Affeldt on the mound in the eighth, Adrian Gonzalez led off the inning with a flare single to left field.
A wild pitch allowed Gonzalez to move into second base, and he came around to score on base hits from Justin Turner and Corey Seager, extending the Dodgers’ lead to 5-0. Seager’s RBI single extended his streaking of reaching safely in starts to 21 consecutive starts.
Mike Broadway took over for Affeldt, but didn’t the pitching change didn’t bring any relief for the Giants. Andre Ethier cleared the bases with a two-run pinch-hit triple, and he scored on Ellis’ RBI single.
Kershaw struck out the side in the eighth, his third time doing so in the game, to give him 12 punchouts on the night. Additionally, he’d retired 16 consecutive batters to that point and held the Giants to just one hit.
Unsurprisingly, Kershaw was back out on the mound in the ninth and he put the finishing touches on a complete-game shutout by retiring the side in order.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly became the first in franchise history to guide his club to three consecutive NL West titles.