SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Ryan Vogelsong picked up where Barry Zito left off and the San Francisco Giants had the Los Angeles Dodgers once again searching for answers and runs.
Vogelsong pitched seven innings to outduel San Francisco nemesis Clayton Kershaw for the second time this season and Melky Cabrera homered to help the Giants move within a game of Los Angeles for first place in the NL West with a 2-0 victory Tuesday night.
Vogelsong (7-3) followed Zito’s seven innings in Monday’s 8-0 win in the series opener with his own gem, marking the first time the Dodgers had been blanked in consecutive games in San Francisco since 1987 and for the second time ever.
“It’s hard to do, especially against a good club,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Our pitching has been right on in this series. Vogey was tough today, good stuff, good command.”
Cabrera’s leadoff homer in the fourth snapped Kershaw’s streak of 35 2-3 consecutive innings in San Francisco without allowing an earned run to the delight of the sellout crowd chanting “BEAT L-A! BEAT L-A!” all night. Pablo Sandoval added an RBI single for the Giants, who haven’t been this close to first place since after the first day of the season.
Kershaw (5-4) allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings but got no support from the Dodgers’ struggling hitters who sorely miss injured slugger Matt Kemp.
Los Angeles has dropped seven of eight on a nine-game California road trip that concludes Wednesday against the Giants, getting outscored 35-13 in the process.
“You get shut out a couple days and there’s frustration,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s natural. It’s my job to make sure we keep going.”
Kershaw had won six straight decisions against the Giants, allowing earned runs in just two of those seven outings before falling 2-1 at home on May 8 when Brett Pill hit a two-run homer and Vogelsong shut down the Dodgers for 7 1-3 innings.
San Francisco used a similar formula to get to the reigning NL Cy Young winner in this game with Cabrera providing the power and Vogelsong once again delivering a stellar start.
“I feel like I have something to prove every game,” Vogelsong said. “Just because I came out on the right side in two games with him that doesn’t change. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
As stingy as Kershaw has been in his career in San Francisco, Vogelsong has been almost as tough. He allowed seven hits and lowered his home ERA to 1.85 in his two seasons with the Giants, second to only to the Angels’ Jered Weaver (1.55) in that span.
Jeremy Affeldt pitched a perfect eighth and Santiago Casilla finished for his 21st save in 23 chances.
Kershaw had struck out four in setting down the Giants for the first three innings. That all started to change on the second pitch of the fourth inning when Cabrera sent a drive that just cleared the wall in left-center for the first homer Kershaw had allowed in seven appearances in San Francisco.
The Giants didn’t stop there, getting three more hits in the inning with Sandoval adding an RBI single before Kershaw escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Vogelsong and Gregor Blanco to end the inning.
“Tonight I blinked first and it cost us,” Kershaw said. “I think we are frustrated but we have to take that anger and aggression to the field and keep coming every day. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing if we’re not winning games. We just have to start playing better baseball.”
Kershaw pitched out of trouble again in the fifth, surviving a line drive off his leg by Buster Posey, but it turned out not to matter the way Vogelsong handled the Dodgers hitters.
“We figured this would be a low-scoring game,” Bochy said. “We found a way to get a couple of runs against a pitcher who has been hard on us. That’s the only way we beat him a couple of times. Score a couple of runs and get a well-pitched game.”