Kershaw tries to help Dodgers overtake Giants in NL West

( - Clayton Kershaw takes another shot at win No. 12 on Saturday when the Los Angeles Dodgers try to overtake the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants in the middle test of a three-game series at AT&T Park.

Kershaw may not have won his ninth straight start on Sunday in St. Louis, but he did not get a decision either, as he allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings of his team's 4-3 win.

"It was a struggle," Kershaw said of his night, in which he allowed three runs for the first time since May. "I didn't really have a great idea where the ball was going for most of the night and then my offspeed stuff was pretty inconsistent, too. They made me pay for my mistakes, but I was able to battle and get through seven, which was good."

The big left-hander is still 11-2 on the year with a major league-best 1.92 ERA. He stands a good chance at improving those numbers on Friday, as he owns an 11-5 lifetime mark versus the Giants with a 1.48 ERA in 23 games (22 starts).

San Francisco, meanwhile, will counter with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who has lost four straight decisions and is 5-7 on the year with a 3.99 ERA. Vogelsong battled a cold on Monday in Philadelphia and it showed. He did not get a decision in that one, but was not effective, as he allowed four runs (3 earned) and a career-high 11 hits in just three innings of his team's 7-4 win.

"I had no energy going into the game," he said. "I knew it was going to be a night where I had to battle."

Vogelsong has faced the Dodgers 22 times (13 starts) and is 4-3 against them with a 3.76 ERA.

Los Angeles moved within a half-game of the Giants in Friday's opener thanks to a record-setting night from Yasiel Puig, who tripled three times to help the Dodgers take an 8-1 victory.

Puig hit three triples and a double in his first four plate appearances, becoming the first major leaguer to do so in a game since Cincinnati's Herm Winningham in 1990. He finished 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

His three triples were also the most in franchise history since Jimmy Sheckard's three in 1901.

"When he's waiting on the ball and shooting the ball into right-center is when he's at his best," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He stung the ball really well tonight. Looked patient at the plate, looked calm and quiet. It was a good night for him."

Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp also tripled and finished with three hits apiece in the win.

Tim Lincecum (9-7) was roughed up for six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.

"I got away from my plan. I didn't throw as many breaking balls and sliders as I wanted to," Lincecum said. "Those have been the equalizer for me, keeping guys honest."

San Francisco has now lost two in a row after winning six of seven.