first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I think the way he said it, ‘I can get Panik’ … I thought he was out of gas,” Mattingly said.Kershaw said it was a poor choice of words. His left arm felt fine.“My mindset was, ‘Let me get Panik out and then go from there,’ because obviously if he gets on base it’s a different inning,” Kershaw said. “I just didn’t communicate well what I was thinking. Fortunately Donnie didn’t give the signal to bring (Brian Wilson) in.”When Panik grounded out on Kershaw’s first pitch, Mattingly popped out of the dugout to visit the mound. Their meeting was quick. Kershaw stayed in to face Posey and ripped off three sliders for strikes, the last two on swings and misses. Suddenly he was looking like an MVP himself, as much as a pitcher can. “I made two mistakes to (Posey) today,” Kershaw said. “He got a hit with a runner in scoring position and lined out really hard. You can’t make mistakes to him. Once you get that leadoff guy out it’s a different at-bat. Facing Posey with nobody on base, you can be more aggressive and attack him a little bit more. That was the case in the last at-bat.”Apparently Kershaw saved his best for last. He retired the next batter, Hunter Pence, on a fly ball to end the eighth inning. By retiring the Giants’ 2-3-4 hitters on six pitches, Kershaw’s last inning was his most efficient.Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 42nd save.After winning two out of three games in the series, the Dodgers gained a game in the National League West standings. They lead their rivals by three games with 13 to play in the regular season.“We still have a long ways ahead of us,” said Dodgers right fielder Matt Kemp, whose two-run home run provided the margin of victory. “We still have this road trip to finish up. Colorado plays us good. They’ve got a couple young guys in Chicago playing really well. We can’t take these teams lightly no matter what their record is or how they’re playing.”Following a series that could have swung either way ‑ the Dodgers’ lead in the division was down to one game after the Giants won 9-0 on Friday ‑ it’s safe to take the Dodgers’ odds of clinching the division a little more seriously.On the off chance the Giants can turn the tables, Kershaw is lined up to start a potential wild-card game on Oct. 1.But the Dodgers aren’t slowing down. They’ve won seven of their last nine games.Kershaw isn’t slowing down, either. In three September starts he’s allowed four earned runs, including two Sunday. His 19 wins lead the major leagues, and his 19-3 record tied a Los Angeles Dodgers record for single-season winning percentage set by Orel Hershiser in 1985.“He doesn’t get tired,” Mattingly said of Kershaw. “The reason he trains the way he trains is he’s not going to come out of a game because he’s tired.”The Dodgers scored two runs in the second inning against San Francisco starter Yusmeiro Petit (5-4). Hanley Ramirez scored all the way from first base on a single by Juan Uribe by virtue of two throwing errors. Uribe scored on a sacrifice fly by A.J. Ellis.Posey got the Giants on the board with an RBI single in the third inning. Pinch-hitter Matt Duffy’s RBI single in the seventh inning accounted for the Giants’ other run.The same M-V-P chants that followed Kemp in 2011 are now following Kershaw. They followed him all the way to China Basin, thanks to a small but vocal cadre of Dodgers fans among the announced crowd of 41,932.Those were the loudest voices by the end of Sunday’s game. Never mind that no pitcher has won the National League MVP award since 1968. Nobody has a response for Kershaw right now ‑ not Posey, not even his would-be hecklers.“Getting the crowd out of the game,” Kemp said, “is the key to success at AT&T Park.”center_img SAN FRANCISCO >> A simple miscommunication almost cost Clayton Kershaw his chance to finish the eighth inning Sunday. Who knows, maybe it almost cost the Dodgers a 4-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.The left-hander had thrown 104 pitches through seven innings ‑ a minor struggle by his standards ‑ when Dodgers manager Don Mattingly approached Kershaw in the dugout and asked him about pitching the eighth.“I can get (Joe) Panik,” were Kershaw’s exact words. Panik was due to lead off. Buster Posey, the 2012 National League MVP, was due to bat second.last_img

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