Even with a recent eight-game winning streak, it only took one loss to put the San Francisco Giants' playoff chances in a bigger hole.
The Giants had averaged over seven runs a game over their winning streak, but saw their bats silenced by Clayton Kershaw in last night's opener. Kershaw beat San Francisco for the fifth time in six tries this season, hurling 7 1/3 solid innings.
The only run Kershaw allowed was a solo homer to Chris Stewart in the seventh inning, one of six hits allowed, as he became the first Dodgers pitcher to reach 20 wins since Ramon Martinez in 1990.
"Twenty wins is kind of a benchmark for all pitchers," Kershaw said. "All I tried to do was put zeroes up there."
Los Angeles picked up its fourth straight win and fourth in its past five games versus San Francisco since a six-game series losing streak.
The loss dropped the Giants 4 1/2 games behind the Braves for the National League Wild Card and 5 1/2 back of the NL West-leading Diamondbacks with eight games to play. San Francisco will visit Arizona for three games beginning on Friday.
"It's frustrating when you go up against a guy like [Kershaw]. You have to be on your game," Lincecum said. "This loss sets us back a little bit."
San Francisco now pins its playoff chances on Ryan Vogelsong, who ended a five-start losing streak on Thursday with a win at Colorado. The Giants had scored just four runs over his losing streak, but backed him last week in an 8-5 victory.
The right-hander allowed a pair of runs on four hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight. He moved to 11-7 with a 2.68 earned run average on the year.
The 34-year-old Vogelsong was coming off a 3-0 loss to the Dodgers on Sept. 10 as he allowed three runs over eight innings. He has split two starts versus them this year with a 1.84 ERA.
Dana Eveland bested the Giants on that day with seven innings of three-hit ball. He goes against them again tonight and holds a career record of 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in four lifetime games against San Francisco, including three starts.
The win over the Giants was his second in as many starts this year, but he suffered a defeat to the Pirates on Thursday. Eveland was charged with four runs over five innings as he allowed a three-run homer to opposing starter Ross Ohlendorf.
The 27-year-old lefty is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his three starts this year.