San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) – Eugenio Velez narrowly scored the eventual game-winning run in the ninth inning, as the Los Angeles Dodgers further damaged the San Francisco Giants’ playoff chances with a 2-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series.
The pitchers’ duel between Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum lived up to its billing, with each ace lasting eight innings.
Kershaw (18-5) continued his NL Cy Young Award campaign by allowing just one unearned run on three hits. The lefty walked one and struck out nine to improve to 4-0 in five outings against the reigning World Series champions this year.
Lincecum, meanwhile, was working on a shutout before giving up the tying run in the eighth. He retired the first two in the frame before Matt Kemp hit a dribbler up the third-base line that stayed fair.
Kemp stole second prior to Juan Rivera poking an RBI single up the middle for Los Angeles’ only hit in 10 chances with runners in scoring position.
“Two dominating pitchers,” Kemp said of the starting matchup. “Both had great stuff. Lincecum’s won two Cy Youngs. Kershaw, I feel like he should be this year’s Cy Young.”
Lincecum wound up allowing six hits and two walks while fanning six in the no- decision. He threw 127 pitches and was pulled in favor of Santiago Casilla, who gave up a leadoff single to Rod Barajas in the ninth.
“It’s wearing on all of us, obviously, just because this season hasn’t panned out the way we would like it to,” Lincecum said. “This is probably the toughest part of the year because you’ve got to grind out the rest and maybe see what happens. Take it game by game and try to battle every day.”
Velez, in as a pinch-runner, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and moved up another 90 feet on a wild pitch by Casilla (2-2). Pinch-hitter Jamey Carroll then hit a chopper to second, and Velez slid in just before the tag.
Javy Guerra set down the side in order in the bottom half to notch his 17th save and send the Giants 8 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Arizona.
The only run in the first seven frames came in the third when Pablo Sandoval singled home Justin Christian, who reached base safely on Dee Gordon’s throwing error.
Kershaw has given up just four runs in 34 2/3 innings (1.04 ERA) against the Giants this year…The Giants have lost four of Lincecum’s last five starts…Kemp’s stolen base was his 38th of the season.