Giants

Kershaw outduels Lincecum again, Giants fall 2-1

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Kershaw outduels Lincecum again, Giants fall 2-1

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Clayton Kershaw impressed just about everybody except himself in becoming the Los Angeles Dodgers' first 20-game winner in 21 years. Fittingly, his accomplishment came against a team he has dominated this season.Kershaw improved to 5-0 against San Francisco with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night that pushed the Giants closer to elimination from the NL West race.Kershaw (20-5) allowed six hits and one run in 7 1-3 innings, walked two and struck out six to become the first Dodgers pitcher to go 5-0 against the Giants since Vic Lombardi in 1946. He did it on what would have been Lombardi's 89th birthday."Don't overthink it," Kershaw said of his strategy against the Dodgers' biggest rival. "You have a tendency sometimes when you face a team over and over to try to change things."Four of those victories came against two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, with Kershaw allowing one earned run in those games. That came on an eighth-inning homer by Chris Stewart."It's frustrating, obviously," Lincecum said. "But when you go up against a guy like that who's having a year like this, you've got to be on your game. Every run counts, so you can't go out there and give him a two-run lead and kind of put the ball in his court to put his foot down because he tends to do that a lot. And it's not just against us."Kershaw issued his only two walks after Stewart's one-out homer. Kenley Jansen relieved him, striking out pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Beltran on a called third strike to end the inning."I love situations like that, tight games, especially when we're up by one," Jansen said. "That's a blessing just being a part of him getting those 20 wins."Javy Guerra pitched the ninth to earn his 19th save in 20 chances. Kershaw hugged Jansen when the game ended."It's a testament to our bullpen tonight," Kershaw said. "These guys picked me up time in and time out. It's a culmination of things. When you win 20 games it's a whole lot of people helping you out back there."Kershaw kept his name in the mix to win the NL Cy Young Award. He's tied with Arizona's Ian Kennedy for the league lead in wins and leads the majors with a 2.27 ERA. Kershaw's 242 strikeouts lead the NL, too."If I were to receive that, it wouldn't go lightly," he said.Lincecum doesn't have a vote, but if he did he said it would go to Kershaw "just because of the numbers that he has."He's leading in a lot of categories and putting up a 20-win season is huge, especially with the team they've got. He's done a magnificent job this year. I'm sure (the four wins against Lincecum) will weigh into the decisions of people, but we're not the only team he's had great games against," he said.Lincecum (13-13) extended his career-high loss total, giving up two runs and eight hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked three. The right-hander got two or fewer runs of support for the 20th time in his 32 starts.The loss ended the Giants' eight-game winning streak and dropped them another game behind Atlanta and St. Louis in the NL wild card race. They trail the Braves by 4 12 and the Cardinals by two with eight games to play."It hurts a lot, just because of the roll we'd been on," Lincecum said. "This is going to set us back a little bit. We've just got to pray for a miracle."Jerry Sands homered leading off the second inning to help the Dodgers win their fourth in a row and move a game above .500 for the first time since April 29 against San Diego. James Loney's RBI single with two outs in the first gave them a 1-0 lead.Kershaw became the first Dodgers pitcher to win 20 games since Ramon Martinez went 20-6 in 1990. The left-hander extended his winning streak to a career-high seven games and improved to 12-1 in 16 home starts."The whole body of work has been tremendous," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "The kid's been doing this every time out for the most part. The performances speak for themselves. You don't need to politic for him."Kershaw departed to a standing ovation with one out in the eighth. He left the stadium carrying a bottle of 2000 vintage Dom Perignon champagne decorated to commemorate his milestone by clubhouse attendant Mitch Poole."If this boy doesn't win the Cy Young, something is definitely wrong," said Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp, who went 2-for-2 with two strikeouts, giving him a career-high 182 hits this season.The Dodgers picked off baserunners three times, with Kershaw involved twice. He picked off Beltran to end the first and later got Justin Christian, giving Kershaw eight pickoffs which leads the NL.NOTES: Kershaw is the 16th 20-game winner in Dodgers' history. ... The Dodgers improved to 23-20 in one-run games, including a 16-7 mark at home. ... Beltran snapped an 0 for 9 streak in his career against Kershaw with singles in his first two at-bats. ... At 23, Kershaw became the second-youngest 20-game winner in Dodgers' history behind Martinez, who was 22 in 1990. ... Kemp was chosen by his teammates as winner of the Roy Campanella Award, given to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. ... Lincecum fell to 0-3 with a 1.82 ERA in his five matchups with Kershaw this season.

Giants lineup: Pence leading off, lefties back in against D'backs

Giants lineup: Pence leading off, lefties back in against D'backs

After batting fourth on Sunday in Los Angeles, Hunter Pence is back in the leadoff spot in the series opener against Arizona.

Additionally, Denard Span, Joe Panik and Jarrett Parker return after sitting against Clayton Kershaw.

San Francisco Giants:
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Denard Span (L) CF
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
7. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
8. Nick Hundley (R) C
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P

Arizona Diamondbacks:
1. Gregor Blanco (L) LF
2. Kristopher Negron (R) SS
3. Brandon Drury (R) 2B
4. Christian Walker (R) 1B
5. Rey Fuentes (L) CF
6. Adam Rosales (R) 3B
7. Jeremy Hazelbaker (L) RF
8. John Ryan Murphy (R) C
9. Zack Godley (R) P

Three teams chasing Giants in tight race for first overall pick

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USATI

Three teams chasing Giants in tight race for first overall pick

LOS ANGELES — The Giants have a pretty strong track record when picking in the top five of the MLB Draft. In 1985, they took Will Clark with the second overall selection, and Clark remains the highest-drafted player in franchise history. A year later, Matt Williams was taken third overall. Jason Grilli at No. 4 in 1997 is rather forgettable, but taking Buster Posey with the fifth pick in 2008 led to three titles. 

With a week of baseball remaining, the Giants are a lock to pick in the top four of next year’s draft. A few days ago, they looked like a pretty strong bet to pick first overall, but the standings — the bottom of them, at least — have tightened in recent days. Here’s a look at the contenders, so to speak … 

White Sox (63-92): No team went into tank mode this year quite like Chicago, with trades of just about every big piece on the roster. But a funny thing has happened … they’ve actually played decent baseball down the stretch. The White Sox are 11-12 in September after a blowout of the Royals on Sunday. They finish up with four against the Angels and three against the Indians, so they should get pretty close to 100 losses. 

Phillies (62-94): They have looked all along like the team to beat, but they hurt their top-pick chances by taking three of four from the Dodgers last week. They host the Nationals and Mets this week. 

Tigers (62-94): All of a sudden, they’re the biggest road block for the Giants. The Tigers have lost seven straight and they’re 4-20 in September. They finish up with three against the Royals and three against the Twins, and all six games are on the road. 

Giants (61-95): Can we stop for a moment and appreciate this. We’ve been talking about it for five months, but still, it’s pretty amazing that a $200 million team is headed into the final week with a very good shot at having the worst record in Major League Baseball. What an awful season this has been. Having said that, the Giants have not shown any signs of actually tanking, and manager Bruce Bochy said this weekend that he won’t shut any players down. So, it’s on to Phoenix, where the Giants have lost six of seven this season but the Diamondbacks might chill out a bit after clinching a postseason spot. They’ll face Zack Godley, Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke. The season ends with three at home against the Padres. The Giants have struggled against the Padres for the last year and a half, but they’ll have Matt Cain going in an emotional start and Madison Bumgarner will also get a game.