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Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum deliver again; Dodgers win, 2-1

September 9, 2011 | 10:17 pm

Dodgers-blog_640 There are not many things in life that can be counted upon to live up to high expectations, but apparently all Clayton Kershaw-Tim Lincecum matchups are one of them.

The two young pitching greats were matched up for the third time this season, and for the third time it proved a brilliant pitching duel. And for the third time, Kershaw came out ahead.

Lincecum, however, did not lose Friday’s game; that was left to reliever Santiago Casillo. He took over to start the ninth in a 1-1 game and almost immediately watched the Dodgers rally for a 2-1 victory.

Rod Barajas led off the ninth with a single off Casillo. Ex-Giant Eugenio Velez ran for Barajas, who was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Justin Sellers. Casillo looked unnerved. He threw a wild pitch to allow Velez to take third.

The Giants brought the infield in, and Jamey Carroll hit a bouncer to second baseman Jeff Keppinger. He fired home but was too late to get the speedy Velez.

The victory was the Dodgers’ 14th in their last 15 games, and did absolutely nothing to damage the Cy Young resume of Kershaw.

Kershaw went to 18-5 with the victory, and lowered his earned-run average to a National League-best 2.36. He became the first Dodger to win 18 games since Chan Ho Park in 2000.

Kershaw struck out nine –- increasing his NL-high total to 231 -– walked one and allowed only three hits.

Javy Guerra pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

If not for some bad luck, neither Kershaw nor Lincecum may have ever given up a run Friday.

Kershaw’s unearned run came after a Dee Gordon throwing error. Lincecum’s after Matt Kemp hit an excuse-me single, a little dribbler that rolled about 35 feet up the third-base line and then just died fair.

Otherwise, neither would blink. They just kept throwing up zeros, retiring the side in order, acting as though that was all they knew.

The Giants scored their run against Kershaw in the first inning. The Dodgers theirs against Lincecum in his last inning.

Justin Christian led off the bottom of the first for the Giants with a grounder to rookie shortstop Dee Gordon, whose throw was wide for an error. One out later, Christian stole second, and Carlos Beltran walked.

Pablo Sandoval laced a single to left, and Christian was waved home. Left-fielder Jerry Sands fired to the plate and may have had a shot at Christian, but the throw was cut off by third baseman Aaron Miles.

The Giants had a 1-0 lead on an unearned run. And for a very long time, it appeared that’s the way the game would end.

Cy Young hopeful Kershaw never did allow another run. Two-time Cy Young winner Lincecum acted as if he never would.

But the Dodgers finally scratched a run off Lincecum in the eighth after Kemp’s two-out, swinging-bunt single. Kemp stole second for his 38th stolen base, and Juan Rivera singled up the middle to score the tying run.

In his eight innings, Lincecum allowed the one run on six hits and two walks, with six strikeouts.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch against the Giants on Friday night. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

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