As the wins keep piling up, Kershaw continues to make a case for his own Cy Young honor.
Kershaw outdueled Lincecum, pinch-hitter Jamey Carroll drove home the go-ahead run in the ninth and the Los Angeles Dodgers sent the Giants another game further from a return trip to the playoffs with a 2-1 victory Friday night.
"He makes a pretty good case for himself every time out," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of his ace. "If not the best pitcher in baseball or in the NL this year, he's got to be right there. You really can't get much better than the way he's thrown the ball."
Kershaw (18-5) allowed three hits, one unearned run, struck out nine and walked one in eight strong innings, allowing only Pablo Sandoval's first-inning RBI single.
He's not ready to crown himself this year's Cy winner. Ian Kennedy of Arizona won his NL-best 19th game Thursday.
"Three more starts hopefully three more wins. And call it," Kershaw said. "And then look back after that. No disrespect to Timmy. He's an awesome pitcher. I don't care who I get a win against. A win is a win."
Time is running out for the reigning champion Giants.
They fell to 8½ games back of first-place Arizona in the NL West with 18 to play after the Diamondbacks beat the Padres 3-2. And the surging Dodgers are suddenly making a push for second place.
"We're not trying to just sink," said Lincecum, who last fall pitched San Francisco to the city's first championship by winning Game 5 of the World Series at Texas. "It's not like anyone has given up by any means. This game is just as important as any game, it's just for a different cause."
Rod Barajas singled to start the ninth against Santiago Casilla (2-2) and former Giant Eugenio Velez came in to pinch-run. Justin Sellers sacrificed him to second and Velez moved to third on a wild pitch. Second baseman Jeff Keppinger then threw home on Carroll's grounder but a sliding Velez just beat the tag by catcher Eli Whiteside.
Javy Guerra got three straight groundouts for his 17th save in 18 chances.
Aaron Miles and Matt Kemp each had two hits. Kemp also stole second in the eighth after he nubbed a grounder about 20 feet up the third-base line, setting up Juan Rivera's tying single. Tony Gwynn Jr. entered to pinch run. Miles then singled and Giants manager Bruce Bochy paid Lincecum a mound visit before leaving him in to face Jerry Sands. Lincecum struck him out swinging for his sixth K.
The Dodgers rallied late to win for the 14th time in 17 games and ninth in 11. Los Angeles has won five straight series, while San Francisco has failed to win in seven straight home series at sold-out AT&T Park since taking two of three from Milwaukee on July 22-24.
Lincecum went winless in four tries this year against the Dodgers, losing his two previous decisions to Kershaw. His 127-pitch outing matched his second-most pitches thrown this year behind 133 against Oakland on May 21.
"He's done that all year," Lincecum said of Kershaw keeping his team close. "Obviously they're in a similar situation as us where it's not really for anything but he still comes out and tries to do his job and go deep in games."
Kershaw's nine Ks made him the first National League pitcher to reach the 230 strikeout mark.
The Dodgers finally did enough to back their star starter after traveling cross-country following a wet and rainy stop in Washington. The nightcap of their scheduled doubleheader with the Nationals on Thursday was scrapped because of yet more precipitation — meaning Los Angeles at least got a decent night's sleep in the Bay Area.
Lincecum has only one win in his last five starts, and 10 of his 12 defeats have come when receiving one or fewer runs of support. He has 10 starts receiving no runs.
"I'd definitely like to beat that guy just because he's done it to us and I manage to go head to head against him a lot," Lincecum said. "Most of the time it's gone to him."
NOTES: Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (10-6), named the "Willie Mac Award" winner Friday after Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, pitches Saturday night trying to end a four-start losing streak. ... Mattingly changed his rotation, going with Dana Eveland in Saturday night's game to give the other starters extra rest. Hiroki Kuroda, who had been scheduled to start Saturday, was pushed back to Sunday and Ted Lilly to Monday at Dodger Stadium against the D-backs. Mattingly said Kuroda's 115-pitch outing his last time out in a 7-2 loss to the Nationals in Washington on Monday, figured in the decision.