Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Giants 0


Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Giants 0


SAN FRANCISCO Clayton Kershaw dealt the Giants their second consecutive shutout loss and dropped them into a tie with the Dodgers for first place in the N.L. West after a three-game sweep at home.Starting pitching report: Ryan Vogelsong was his usual razor-sharp self for three innings, but he needed to be at his best to match Kershaw and he was far from it in the series finale.Coming into Sundays game, Vogelsong boasted the best home ERA in the National League at 1.41. He lowered that mark with a nine-pitch 1-2-3 first inning and worked around a one-out single by Hanley Ramirez in the second with an inning-ending strike em out, throw em out double play. Vogelsong struck out Mark Ellis looking on a close call to end the third frame after issuing a one-out walk to A.J. Ellis.Vogelsong finished the third inning with just 41 pitches thrown on the afternoon, but needed another 37 just to make it through the fourth. After starting off Juan Rivera with three straight balls, Vogelsong eventually had to come in with a 3-1 fastball. Rivera responded with a clean single and Matt Kemp followed with a single of his own. Rivera advanced to third on Andre Ethiers deep fly to center, then scored on Hanley Ramirezs ground ball to third that the Giants almost turned into an inning-ending double play. Instead, Ramirez barely beat Ryan Theriots relay throw to collect his sixth RBI of the series and keep the inning alive. His hustle paid off even more when Marco Scutaros error and Luis Cruzs double led to a second Dodger run.For all the work Vogelsong did in the fourth inning, he enjoyed a much-needed rest in the fifth, as he used just six pitches to set down Ellis, Rivera and Kemp in order.The Dodgers wasted no time getting Vogelsong back in the stretch in the sixth, as Andre Ethier led off the inning with a single and, after Ramirez flew out to center, moved up on James Loneys single. Vogelsong struck out Cruz, then walked Ellis to load the bases for Kershaw. Kershaw didnt go down easy, taking Vogelsongs 101st pitch for a strike and a full count. The lanky lefty then fouled off two tough pitches before he struck out swinging to end the inning.Vogelsong turned in his 19th straight start of six innings or more to start the season, but those innings included six hits, three walks and two runs, one of which was earned. Vogelsong struck out five in the loss, his fifth of the year, and threw 104 pitches, 59 of which were strikes.Bullpen report: Clay Hensley relieved Vogelsong in the seventh inning and didnt last long, giving way to Jeremy Affeldt after sandwiching a fielders choice with two singles.Affeldt inherited Hensleys two baserunners and saved his bullpen-mate by getting Andre Ethier to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.Affeldt came back out for the eighth inning and started off with a strikeout of Ramirez, but gave up a double followed by a wild pitch and a single to let L.A.s lead increase to 3-0. Affeldt then walked Ellis and struck out Kershaw before giving way to George Kontos.Kontos, who put in a rough 1.2 innings of work in Saturdays loss, promptly gave up a single back up the middle to Ellis to put the Giants in a 4-0 hole. He left two runners in scoring position, though, when he induced a foul pop up from Rivera to end the inning.Santiago Casilla started the ninth inning but didnt finish it. The Giants closer got Kemp to ground out before giving up a double to Ethier. Casilla struck out Ramirez looking but Bruce Bochy still decided to turn to his lefty specialist Javier Lopez to face Loney. Lopez did his job, getting Loney to ground out to second and send the game to the bottom of the ninth.At the plate: San Franciscos bats were shut out for nine innings Saturday and didnt look any better in the series finale against Giant-killer Clayton Kershaw.Kershaw worked around an error and two singles in the second inning and was nearly flawless the rest of the way.The Giants came closest to erasing their scoreless streak in the second inning, when Angel Pagan reached on an error with one out. Kershaw picked off Pagan, though, making back-to-back singles from Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt immediately after go for naught.Kershaw was in cruise control from the third inning on, mixing in his devastating breaking balls with an overpowering fastball to keep the Giants hitters off balance.After the two singles in the second the Giants mustered just two more singles, one from Pagan in the fourth and another from Blanco in the sixth, until the ninth inning.Kershaw entered the ninth inning having thrown just 98 pitches. In the final frame he got Theriot to hit a fly ball to the left-centerfield gap and struck out Cabrera for the third time for two quick outs. Posey kept the game alive with a sharp ground ball off third baseman Hanley Ramirezs glove for the Giants fifth hit, but Pagan grounded out to third to end the game in a sharp three hours and three minutes.The top of the Giants order, Blanco, Theriot, Cabrera and Posey, combined to go 1-for-15 with a walk and five strikeouts against Kershaw.In the field: The newest Giant, Marco Scutaro, made a smart play on Clayton Kershaws bunt in the third inning. With a runner on first, the Dodgers ace popped up his sacrifice bunt attempt in between Buster Posey and Ryan Vogelsong. Nobody could get to the ball on the fly, but Scutaro charged it and threw across his body to second base to get the force out.Scutaro erased the memory of his good defense with a sun-induced dropped pop up in the middle of a fourth-inning rally. The two-out error kept the inning alive for the Dodgers and led to their second run.On the bases: In his first plate appearance of the game, Angel Pagan reached base on an error but wasted the gift by getting picked off. The mistake was made worse when the next two San Francisco batters singled but the Giants were kept off the board.After drawing a walk in the third inning, Gregor Blanco stole his 18th base of the season to take the team lead and continue to add to his career-high total.Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,902 for their 135th consecutive sellout.Up next: The Giants will try to regain sole possession of first place in the N.L. West when they host the New York Mets for four games starting Monday. In the series opener, the Mets will send RHP Jeremy Hefner (1-4, 5.40 ERA) to the mound to oppose LHP Madison Bumgarner (11-6, 3.10 ERA).

Kershaw stands between Cubs and first World Series since 1945

Kershaw stands between Cubs and first World Series since 1945

Clayton Kershaw stands between the Cubs and the World Series, a possibility that left veteran catcher David Ross thinking about Ric Flair inside Dodger Stadium’s visiting clubhouse late Thursday night: To be The Man, you got to beat The Man. 

“Woo!” That’s how the Cubs like to punctuate their postgame celebration routine, channeling the professional wrestling legend in a ritual with so much sensory overload that the fog machine set off fire alarms throughout the underground Wrigley Field lair…after a win in the middle of August. “Woo!” 
The Cubs left Los Angeles one win away from their first National League pennant since 1945, and with two chances to pull it off this weekend at Wrigley Field, beginning on Saturday night in Game 6. So imagine how this crew would trash the Party Room if they beat Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP. 

“The guy competes,” manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s pretty much like mechanics be damned, it’s just about me beating you somehow. 

“He’s got a good fastball that he locates. He doesn’t walk people. He’s got a dynamic curve and slider. And he’s got deception. He’s a little bit funky, and that’s got to be hard to pick up. The ball gets on you pretty quickly, and then he commands it. 

“So there’s nothing you could possibly ask for that he doesn’t already have.”

Now we’ll see if something clicked while the Cubs turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 NLCS lead – handling rookie starters Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda and the softer parts of the Los Angeles bullpen – or if those 18 runs combined in Games 4 and 5 were a mirage.

In 16-plus innings so far, the Cubs still haven’t scored a run off Kershaw, if-necessary Game 7 lefty starter Rich Hill or dominating closer Kenley Jansen, who got this review from Maddon: “He’s like a 100-pound heavier version of Mariano Rivera. He’s the bigger man with the same kind of stuff.”


No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series


No Indians first pitch for 'Wild Thing' in World Series

CLEVELAND -- Wild Thing will have to stay in the bullpen during the World Series.

While actor Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the movie "Major League" offered to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before one of this year's World Series games, Major League Baseball said the choices have already been made.

A spokesman told the AP on Friday that MLB has worked with the Indians to identify "former franchise greats" to throw out the first pitch for the games in Cleveland. An announcement is expected early next week.

The Indians host Games 1 and 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday. If necessary, Cleveland will host Games 6 and 7 on Nov. 1-2.

There had been a movement by fans on social media for Sheen to throw the first pitch and be part of the pregame festivities.

Sheen got wind of the buzz and responded on Twitter, posting a photo of himself as Vaughn in his Indians uniform and wrote, "Major League continues to be the gift that keeps on giving! if called upon, I'd be honored."

Sheen made an appearance during the playoffs at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday when the Chicago Cubs beat Los Angeles in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Released in 1989, "Major League" is a fictional account of the Indians finishing in first place with an unconventional group of players including Vaughn, who struggled to find the strike zone and warmed up to "Wild Thing," a No. 1 hit song in 1966 by The Troggs.

The real Cleveland Indians, who overcame injuries to win the AL Central, before knocking off Boston and Toronto in the playoffs, took a page from "Major League" this season.

Slugger Mike Napoli and second baseman Jason Kipnis constructed a shrine in an empty clubhouse stall between their lockers like one in the movie. In the film, character Pedro Cerrano practices Voodoo and prays to an idol named, "Jobu" to help him hit curveballs.

Like Cerrano, Napoli and Kipnis have their own "Jobu" and have left gifts, including small bottles of rum and cigars, to keep them out of hitting slumps.