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.

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

CHICAGO — Had a half-dozen other things gone differently Wednesday night, the Giants might have spent the hour after the game shrugging off a blowout loss or celebrating one of the best at-bats of the year. 

Three innings after the game was nearly lost for good, Mac Williamson saw 12 pitches from Wade Davis, who entered with a perfect ERA in 19 appearances, fouling eight of them off before slamming a two-run homer to right. The play came with some comedic value, as Williamson nearly passed Eduardo Nuñez on the bases. It also came with some historic value, as it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive solo shots that was two shy of the MLB record. 

The homer was not, however, the talking point after the game. A few minutes after Williamson went deep, Joe Panik was tossing his bat into the grass in frustration over a called third strike that ended the game and clinched a 5-4 win for the Cubs. Ten minutes after that, Bruce Bochy watched the highlight and tossed his phone onto his desk. 

“It’s a shame to end on that call, it really is,” Bochy said. “We had him on fumes and that’s not a strike. But they got the call and that’s it.”

The Giants were left with their third loss in four games, a run that has halted their momentum. They again are 11 games back in the National League West, with so many nights like this one: A comeback seemed real, but the mistakes were too much to overcome. 

Williamson, in talking about his homer, pivoted and pointed to a blunder of his own. In a tied game in the fifth, Miguel Montero hit a single to right with Addison Russell on first. The speedy shortstop watched Williamson as the ball rolled into the outfield, and when Williamson didn’t charge as hard as he otherwise might, Russell took off for third. The throw was perfect, but late. Russell scored on a fly ball. 

“The home run is really cool but it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t have made the mistake earlier in the game and given them the extra run,” Williamson said, explaining that he has tried to focus on being smooth to the ball and not rushing on fast outfields. In the past, rushing has led to bobbles and extra bases. 

Another costly sequence came in the eighth. After the Giants left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Steven Okert gave up a triple to Jason Heyward, who scored on a sacrifice fly. Okert, so good when he was first called up, has been less effective of late. 

“We’ve got to get our lefties going,” Bochy said. “We gave them a run there and that put it at three and that’s just enough to cover it for them.”

Truth be told, the Giants were probably lucky to even have worries at that point. The wind blew a three-run Heyward homer inches foul in the sixth, and while the Giants grumbled about the final call of the game, an earlier call on Heyward for running inside the base path took a Cubs run off the board and killed a rally. It was correct by the letter of the law, but one you rarely see. The Giants escaped, but they wouldn’t come all the way back, despite Williamson’s late push. 

The young outfielder has been looking to make an impact since coming back up on the last homestand. He knew how tough Davis has been. 

“He’s been the best in the game this year and the numbers speak for themselves,” Williamson said. “He has phenomenal stuff. You get in the box and figure you’ve got nothing to lose, battle as tough as you can.”

Williamson fouled off good strikes and tantalizing balls. When he lofted a 2-2 pitch toward right, he took off out of the box. The ball carried just over the wall, and Williamson didn’t look up until he rounded third. That’s when Phil Nevin started yelling at him to slow down. Nuñez, who had a tight hamstring, turned and told Williamson to slow down.

“I kinda blacked out for a second there,” Williamson said. 

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog,’” Nunez said.

The moment temporarily sent a rush through the dugout. Minutes later, the Giants were left livid over a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close, but nonetheless was right there for them to steal. 

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.