Marlins complete sweep as Giants lose 1-0 in first game post-Posey

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Anibal Sanchez pitched his third career shutout Thursday as the Marlins beat the Giants 1-0 to complete their first sweep in San Francisco since 1995.

With Buster Posey absent from the middle of the lineup, the Giants managed just five hits today and never put together much of a threat.  Only in the first inning did they have multiple hitters reach base.

Posey’s replacement, Eli Whiteside, went 0-for-2 before being removed for a pinch-hitter.

Ryan Vogelsong was the hard-luck loser for San Francisco, dropping his first decision despite going a season-high eight innings.  He lowered his ERA to 1.77 and demonstrated one more time why it’s going to be impossible to shift him to the bullpen once the injured Barry Zito is ready to return.

Sanchez went the distance for the second time this season.  He took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a 4-1 win over the Rockies on April 22.  He became the first Marlins starter to pitch a shutout in a 1-0 game since A.J. Burnett in 2005.

The Marlins are now 29-19.  They’re even with the NL East-leading Phillies in the loss column, though they have two fewer wins.  No other NL team has a better record.

The Giants fell to 27-22 with the loss.  Even after the sweep, they remain two games up on the Rockies in the NL West.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.