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Kershaw strikes out 13, wins 7th straight by beating Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 in eight innings, Justin Turner hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the ninth and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 3-2 on Friday night.

Kershaw (9-1) outdueled Johnny Cueto to improve to 7-0 over his last eight starts, and with 82 strikeouts to just three walks during that stretch since an April 26 loss to Miami. He is 3-0 in six road starts.

Turner hit a 2-1 pitch from Santiago Casilla (1-2) to left field to start the ninth and the Dodgers shaved a game off the Giants’ NL West lead to pull within three – though both clubs know this race surely will be decided down the stretch.

The Dodgers have won the last five games against the Giants when Kershaw pitches, and the lefty is 18-7 in 33 starts facing rival San Francisco.

Kenley Jansen allowed Brandon Belt‘s two-out double in the ninth followed by a walk to pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco before striking out Brandon Crawford on a 3-2 pitch for his 17th save.

The Dodgers improved to 12-1 in Kershaw’s outings, while the Giants dropped to 11-2 when Cueto takes the mound. He had beaten Los Angeles in consecutive April starts.

Cueto, who was trying to become the majors’ third 10-game winner of the night after Washington’s Stephen Strasburg and Chris Sale of the White Sox, had his home scoreless streak of 29 1/3 innings snapped in the first when he fell behind 2-0.

The right-hander struck out eight in eight innings, allowing two runs on three hits with no walks.

The Dodgers went ahead on a balk that Cueto and manager Bruce Bochy debated with plate umpire D.J. Reyburn, then added on with Adrian Gonzalez‘s RBI single.

Matt Duffy homered in the bottom of the first, sending an 0-1 pitch into the left-field bleachers for just the fifth long ball given up by Los Angeles’ ace, and Buster Posey hit a tying double in the sixth.

Posey was back in the lineup to catch him after missing three straight games with an irritated nerve in his right thumb, but with two off days, he had five days of rest. He received an injection in the area Sunday.

The Dodgers challenged a ball call against Chase Utley in the fifth that actually hit Utley, and it was overturned after about a minute. Cueto then retired the final 10 hitters he faced in order.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: RF Yasiel Puig, on the disabled list since June 3 with a strained left hamstring, will join Class A Rancho Cucamonga at home Monday with the hope he will be activated June 20 against the Nationals. Puig has been working in the batting cage on “shortening his stroke,” manager Dave Roberts said. When Puig is ready, Roberts will still try to get Trayce Thompson regular playing time, but Puig’s defense and strong arm are too valuable to keep him out of the lineup. … RHP Brandon McCarthy is slated to make his first rehab start and go two innings Saturday at Rancho Cucamonga as he works back from Tommy John surgery.

Giants: INF Kelby Tomlinson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb that happened on a dive Wednesday against Boston but didn’t initially become problematic. He will need a splint for about two weeks. … RF Hunter Pence underwent surgery Thursday on his torn right hamstring in Dallas and all went smoothly and as planned. He was expected back in the Bay Area on Friday night and at the ballpark Saturday. … RHP Sergio Romo (elbow strain), who was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for the callup of INF Ramiro Pena from Triple-A Sacramento, could throw off the mound Saturday. … LF Angel Pagan (left hamstring strain) will begin a three-game rehab assignment with Sacramento beginning Saturday night in El Paso, Texas.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.46 ERA) is 2-0 with 24 strikeouts and four walks in 17 innings over his last three starts.

Giants: Jeff Samardzija (7-4, 3.33) looks to bounce back from a loss at St. Louis in which he surrendered season highs of six runs and nine hits. He is 1-3 in five career outings – three starts – vs. L.A.

Everyone has to scrape themselves up off the mat for another night of LCS action

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The way I see it, the Red Sox are the only team who should be feeling super chipper today.

The Astros got pasted last night, and it didn’t help that they also found themselves in an off-the-field controversy. Like, a few feet off the field, where maybe they shouldn’t have been controversy. That has to be deflating as all get-out.

The Brewers have to feel like garbage, not only because they lost, but because it took 13 innings to do it, stretching their already patchwork pitching approach, made all the more depressing by the loss of Gio Gonzalez to injury. No, he wouldn’t have pitched tonight anyway, and yes, they get a fresh arm to replace him on the roster, but (a) no one wants a teammate injured; and (b) the arm is, by definition, one Craig Counsell didn’t want to pitch in the LCS in the first place.

The Dodgers are in a much happier state given that that they won, but they gotta be pretty exhausted too given the length and intensity of last night’s game. Plus everyone is now going to have to walk into the clubhouse today and answer questions about their dirty-playing superstar, and if ballplayers hate anything, they hate having to answer questions about their teammates’ missteps.

Still, I suppose it all beats being at home with the other 26 baseball teams, so their misery is relative.

Your viewing guide:

NLCS Game 5

Brewers vs. Dodgers
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium
Time: 5:09 PM Eastern
TV: FS1
Pitchers: Wade Miley vs. Clayton Kershaw
Breakdown:

Wake up, guys. Not only did you play until the wee hours last night, but you have a day game today, starting just after 2PM local time. I suppose we’ll have plenty of time to shoot the schedule maker later — really, why would you give a west coast content a day-game-after-a-night-game treatment? — but for now you gotta pound some java and suck it up.

Clayton Kershaw is gonna have to suck it up, that’s for sure. He had a rough outing in Game 1 at Miller Park, allowing five runs — four earned — on six hits and two walks while striking out just two. Dave Roberts had to use eight relievers last night, including Kenley Jansen for two innings, so Kershaw cannot afford to be sitting at 50 some laboring pitches three innings into this bad boy. He’s gonna have to put on his 2009-17 big boy pants and be an ace.

For Milwaukee it’s Miley, who was excellent in Game 2 but who goes on three days rest here. Craig Counsell used six relievers last night, including Josh Hader, who I would guess is not available today. He does, however, have Brandon Woodruff, who has been excellent thus far.

Mostly, though both of these offenses need to wake up. The Brewers went scoreless over the final eight innings last night. The Dodgers have scored only three runs the 22 innings of play at Dodger Stadium thus far.

 

ALCS Game 4

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:39 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: Rick Porcello vs. Charlie Morton
Breakdown:

Charlie Morton will make his first start of the postseason. Indeed, it will be his first action of any kind since September 30, when he went only three innings in a game-162 tuneup against the Orioles. That’s a long dang time to be off the field, but given that he only tossed 15 innings in four starts in the entire final month of the season due right shoulder discomfort, maybe the layoff did him well. We’ll see tonight how he responds to it. Porcello, meanwhile, has been pretty busy, both starting and coming out of Alex Cora’s bullpen. The pattern worked for him nicely in the ALDS, so why not continue it.

Not that anyone cares about this sort of thing other than we story writers, but it’ll definitely be a thing of the Astros can’t get up off the mat after last night’s loss. If those two hit batsmen followed by the grand slam surrendered by Roberto Osuna turns out to have been the turning point of the postseason and the moment when the Astros year, effectively, ended. Baseball is a team effort of course, and there is still much of it to be played here, but if that broke the Astros for 2018 — if Roberto Osuna’s shortcomings prove to have been too much to overcome — it’ll be hard to escape the takes.