The bullpen picked up injured Clayton Kershaw with five innings of one-run relief, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers complete a four-game sweep over the host San Francisco Giants with a 5-3 victory on Thursday afternoon.
The Dodgers’ fifth straight win overall and eighth in a row versus the Giants since the All-Star break might have been a costly one. Kershaw, the All-Star Game starter, was removed from the game before the fifth inning with low back pain.
Kershaw missed more than a month bridging April and May earlier this season with SI joint inflammation in his lower spine.
Kershaw left with a 4-2 lead, having allowed a two-run homer run to Giants newcomer J.D. Davis in the second inning.
Only one of the runs was earned, and he finished his four innings with three hits and four strikeouts.
After an RBI single by Gavin Lux opened the scoring in the top of the second inning, the Dodgers used their power to pull away en route to their first four-game sweep in San Francisco since July 1-4, 1977.
Mookie Betts’ homer, a three-run shot that was his 25th homer of the season, came after Lux’s double and James Outman’s walk put two on with two outs in the fourth. Giants manager Gabe Kapler relieved starter Jakob Junis (4-3) with John Brebbia prior to Betts’ at-bat.
Betts then blasted Brebbia’s third pitch over the fence in left-center field for a 4-2 lead.
Junis was charged with two of the runs, giving him three along with five hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out five.
Trea Turner’s solo homer in the seventh inning gave Los Angeles a 5-2 lead. The homer was Turner’s 18th of the season.
Meanwhile, Phil Bickford, Chris Martin (2-0), Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia and Craig Kimbrel followed Kershaw with one scoreless inning apiece.
The Giants were held to a single hit by the first four relievers until rallying in the ninth off Kimbrel, with Brandon Belt scoring on a wild pitch after he had doubled.
Down 3-0 in the count, Kimbrel bounced back to strike out Tommy La Stella to end the game and pick up his 20th save of the season.
Lux was the only player in the game with multiple hits for the Dodgers, who have gone 10-3 against the Giants this season.
–Field Level Media