Giants go for sweep as Bumgarner, Kershaw clash for 3rd time

( - Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants will try to get the best of Clayton Kershaw for the third time this season on Thursday afternoon when they attempt to sweep their three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bumgarner and Kershaw have squared off twice already this season, with the Giants winning both games.

Neither hurler factored into San Francisco's 3-2 home victory on April 22, which marked the first time in MLB history that the reigning MVP (Kershaw) squared off against the reigning World Series MVP (Bumgarner).

Bumgarner then picked up a tight 2-1 win over Kershaw and the hosting Dodgers on April 28, with the Giants hurler striking out nine over eight innings of one-run ball. Kershaw took the tough-luck loss as he yielded two runs over seven frames with eight strikeouts.

"I gave up two (runs), he gave up one. He pitched eight innings, I pitched seven," said Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award Winner. "I got outpitched."

Bumgarner is 12-5 with a 2.46 earned run average in his career versus the Dodgers, while Kershaw is still an excellent 14-6 lifetime versus San Francisco with a 1.51 ERA.

Both decorated hurlers are also coming off career milestones coming.

Kershaw finally picked up the 100th victory of his career last time out as he went winless in four straight outings after beating Colorado back on April 17. He returned to the win column with Saturday's 6-4 decision over the Rockies, striking out 10 batters, two off his season high, over 6 2/3 innings of three- run ball, working around four hits and three walks.

"It's cool," Kershaw said of the win. "I don't know if it means a whole lot, but it's something to celebrate."

The 27-year-old Kershaw is 100-51 with a 2.54 ERA lifetime, with the left- hander going 2-2 with a 4.24 ERA through his first eight starts of this season.

Bumgarner, meanwhile, aims to win a second straight start as he rebounded from a 6-2 loss to Miami on May 9 with Friday's 10-2 victory in Cincinnati. The southpaw gave up two runs -- both on solo homers -- over seven innings, striking out four batters to move to 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA on the season.

"Ten runs is pretty nice when you're out there pitching," said Bumgarner, who surpassed 1,000 career innings.

The Dodgers have scored zero runs in this series, getting blanked 2-0 in Tuesday's opener before the Giants rolled to a 4-0 win last night. Tim Lincecum earned the win with seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball and Buster Posey hit a two-run homer.

"He's pitching with a lot of confidence and swagger right now," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy of Lincecum.

San Francisco has won five straight games and is 6-2 against Los Angeles this season. The Giants trail the Dodgers by 2 1/2 games for first place in the NL West.

Brett Anderson took the loss after surrendering three runs on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 frames.

The Dodgers have lost five of their past seven games.