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Clayton Kershaw brings the pain, earns first shutout as Dodgers win 1-0 despite managing one hit

September 14, 2010 |  9:31 pm
It was the closest thing to a playoff atmosphere the Dodgers are going to experience this season.

The Giants and their fans are always up for the Dodgers anyway, but here came the middle of September and the Giants trying to chase down the Padres in the National League West.

On a cool Tuesday night at AT&T Park, the Dodgers couldn’t respond at the plate but received a starting effort from Clayton Kershaw the Giants are likely to remember a while. Or be haunted by.

Kershaw was simply brilliant, shutting out the Giants on four hits and beating hard-luck Barry Zito when the Dodgers scored the game’s only run on an error to escape the tense night with a 1-0 victory -- despite managing only one hit.

Kershaw, 22, rose to the occasion, throwing the first shutout of his three-year career. Kershaw (12-10) wasn’t in his overpowering mode -- he only struck out four -- but he was economical. He did not walk a batter and allowed only one runner to advance to second.

The loss dropped the Giants 1½ games back of the Padres. It was the second time this season the Giants lost a game in which they allowed only one hit -- the other coming against the Padres.

Zito allowed the one hit in his 5 2/3 innings and stuck out five. Yet there is little Zito can seem to do right these days.

Tuesday marked his ninth consecutive loss and 12th consecutive start without a victory. His last win came back on July 16.

He seemed firmly in control of the scoreless game in the sixth when he hit Reed Johnson with one out. Kershaw’s bunt sacrificed Reed to second.

Zito needed one last out to get out of the inning, but it proved elusive. With first base open, he pitched carefully to Rafael Furcal and walked him. But then he walked Andre Ethier to load the bases.

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy elected to leave Zito in the game, and it should have worked.

Casey Blake bounced one up the middle to shortstop Juan Uribe. And that ball screamed third out. Only Uribe, who killed the Dodgers when the Giants were last at Dodger Stadium, dropped the ball.

He threw late to second for the force and everyone was safe, as Johnson crossed the plate. The Dodgers had scored the game’s only run on a hit batter, two walks and an error.

That ended the night for Zito (8-13). Santiago Casilla came on to strike out Matt Kemp -- who had the only hit against Zito -- and end the inning.

The Dodgers, though, had a mighty run and Kershaw on the mound.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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