Kershaw helps Dodgers end 11-game slide
Los Angeles holds off San Francisco 5-3, clinches playoff spot
The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Mired in an 11-game losing streak, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers felt the magnitude of this regular-season game more than most.
And understandably so, the way September has gone so far.
Kershaw pitched the Dodgers to their first win in nearly two weeks, helping them clinch a playoff berth by finally beating the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Tuesday to snap the club’s longest losing streak since moving to the West Coast in 1958.
“We needed it,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We were scratching and clawing to get that ‘W.’ “
The Dodgers’ slide topped 10-game skids in Los Angeles during the 1961 and 1992 seasons. The 1944 Brooklyn team lost 16 straight games.
Despite the recent tailspin, Los Angeles still owns the best record in the majors at 93-52. The National League West leaders secured at least the second NL wild card and joined the NL East champion Washington Nationals as the only teams to punch their postseason tickets so far.
“A lot of relief in that clubhouse,” Roberts said. “Usually there’s handshakes but tonight there were more hugs. Playing it cool went to the side tonight. I think it was warranted.”
Kershaw (17-3) tied Milwaukee’s Zach Davies for the major league lead in wins.
Kenley Jansen got four outs for his 37th save but allowed three straight singles with one out in the ninth to face a bases-loaded jam. He struck out Buster Posey and Nick Hundley to end it.
“He’s the best in the league for a reason. He got it done,” Kershaw said of the Dodgers’ closer. “Tonight wasn’t easy. Nothing about these past two weeks has been easy so we shouldn’t have expected this one to be easy. … We needed everybody to get a win tonight. It took just about everybody. More just a sense of relief now that we got a win. We can’t let up. Every time the losses keep mounting and mounting it gets that much harder to win a game.”
Justin Turner hit a key RBI double in the eighth and Chase Utley homered leading off the fourth, splashing into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field wall for the first time in his career.
Neither team took batting practice on the field after playing past 2 a.m. local time because of two delays for lightning and rain Monday.
Kershaw followed Utley’s homer with a double and Corey Seager put the Dodgers ahead on a sacrifice fly. Yasiel Puig’s two-run double chased Johnny Cueto, who had intentionally walked Cody Bellinger to bring up Puig.
Kelby Tomlinson homered leading off the third against Kershaw, who struck out six over six innings. He allowed eight hits and two runs.
The left-hander struck out pinch hitter Tim Federowicz to end the sixth with the bases loaded after Orlando Calixte’s sacrifice fly.
Cueto (7-8) struck out eight over 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits with four walks in his third start since coming off the disabled list.