SAN FRANCISCO -- Even a team's best is usually not enough against Clayton Kershaw. The Giants on Saturday were far from it, playing sloppy defense and making too many mistakes on the mound. Kershaw was his usual dominating self, shutting out the Giants 5-0 to vault the Dodgers a half-game ahead of the Giants in the National League West.
The planet's best left-hander always seems to step it up a notch when the Giants are in the other dugout, and he gave up just two hits and struck out seven. Kershaw has nine career shutouts, four of them coming in 23 starts against the Giants. He improved to 7-2 at AT&T Park with a 0.69 ERA and threw his 15th consecutive quality start against the Giants. That's the longest such streak against the Giants since Hall of Famer Bob Gibson dominated them from 1968-1972.
The Giants knew what they were up against. There was little that needed to be said afterward.
"He was good," Hunter Pence said, shrugging. "He's always good. He won today."
That's been the theme of the last three games. The Giants have scored two total runs while dropping three straight to Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke and Kershaw, three of the league's best pitchers.
"You have to give them credit," manager Bruce Bochy said. "These guys are really good -- throwing hard with good secondary pitches and hitting their spots. Still, we've got to find a way to get some runs."
The Giants barely found a way on base against Kershaw. Gregor Blanco hit a first-inning single, but Buster Posey followed with a double-play grounder. Michael Morse walked in the fifth, but Kershaw struck out the other three batters he faced that inning. Joaquin Arias reached on an error in the sixth and Morse hit a single in the seventh, but neither got past second.
The Giants had no margin for error, and yet they gave away a couple of early runs. Pence lost Adrian Gonzalez's two-out liner in the sun in the fourth inning, and the lumbering first baseman reached second. He scored on a broken-bat single by Hanley Ramirez.
Up 2-0 in the sixth, the Dodgers put two runners in scoring position with one out. Dan Uggla sprawled to grab Carl Crawford's grounder, but Uggla's throw home skipped past Posey, allowing Yasiel Puig to score. The Dodgers scored four runs against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, just two of them earned.
Vogelsong has received zero runs of support in five of his last six starts, but he refused to place blame Saturday.
"If I make better pitches, I don't give up those runs," he said. "You can talk about Hunter losing that ball in the sun, but that wasn't a good pitch. You see Hanley's broken-bat hit ... I haven't looked at it yet, but I assume the pitch wasn't in a good spot. It's on me. You create your own luck."
"It's just a matter of time before he's going to be up here on a regular basis," Bochy said. "This is how much we think about him."
Susac is from Roseville and starred at Jesuit High-Carmichael before going to Oregon State. The Giants picked him in the second-round of the 2011 draft. Susac said more than 20 family members and friends were part of the sellout crowd.
He came in as a defensive replacement for Posey in the top of the eighth and got his first career at-bat in the bottom of the inning. He grounded out on the first pitch.
"I saw (Kershaw) smiling at me, and I thought he was going to give me a cookie," Susac said, smiling. "I thought wrong."
With Cain's health in question, Giants deal prospects for veteran starter Peavy (above). PAGE 5
L.A. Dodgers (Hyun-Jin Ryu 11-5) at Giants (Jake Peavy 1-9), 5:07 p.m. ESPN