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Dodgers Squeak Past World Champs

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Dodgers vs. Giants. Clayton Kershaw vs. two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. That pitching duel was as spectacular as could be envisioned with neither ceding anything through five innings. But a stupid mistake by Giants’ catcher Buster Posey in the sixth inning helped buoy the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory.

Kershaw seemed to have the upper hand in the matchup striking out eight through the first five frames while Lincecum was a bit shaky. The Dodgers had six baserunners in the first three innings stranding five and scoring nothing which didn’t really bother manager Don Mattingly.

“The way I really look at it is keep giving yourself opportunities. The team that usually scores the most runs left the most runners on base. Hits are tough to come by. You get a guy like Lincecum and any other pitching staff over there. But you’ve got to keep giving yourself chances.”

Kershaw as always gave the Dodgers the chance to win going seven innings striking out nine while giving up four hits and a walk.

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“He’s special,” catcher Rod Barajas said. “He’s got some kind of gift. He’s not just a fastball guy. He’s not just a fastball-curveball guy. He’s got a slider. We threw a couple of changeups.

“This guy just continues to develop. He gets better every time he goes out there. He’s a competitor.”

Not to go unnoticed was Matt Kemp who singled off of Lincecum in the first inning and walked in his other three plate appearances setting a career record.

“It’s a great start from Matty,” Mattingly commented. “You expect a lot out of him.”

Unexpected were the errors by the Giants, although it should have been surprising since manager Bruce Bochy did complain about it at the end of spring training. And boy did it bite them in the sixth inning.

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After Andre Ethier struck out and Kemp walked, James Loney grounded to a force play. However shortstop Miguel Tejada overthrough second baseman Freddy Sanchez allowing Kemp to take third base and Loney to be safe.

Then Lincecum hit former teammate Juan Uribe with a pitch to load the bases.

And then the error that turned the game.

During Rod Barajas’ at-bat, Lincecum made a pitch in the dirt. Posey ran up to catch the dirt while Kemp went back to third base. End of the play right?

With Kemp still on the base Posey threw to third. Of course with Kemp on the base, third baseman Pablo Sandoval couldn’t field the ball cleanly resulting in the ball going into left field. In came Kemp and in came the lead.

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Kemp would figure in the Dodgers other run in the eighth inning after getting a walk against reliever Santiago Casilla, he stole second and scored on James Loney’s double to the right field wall.

Unfortunately the Dodger would need that run after closer Jonathan Broxton gave up a solo homer to Pat Burrell in the ninth inning.

“He just got me,” Broxton said. “But it’s better than a walk. With walks you can’t get out of. You never want to walk anyone with a two-run lead.”

Mattingly wasn’t any more nervous with Broxton than usual.

“I think you’re always going to be nervous no matter who’s out there,” Mattingly said. “The ball’s coming out of Brox’s hand good.”

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Mattingly will look to keep going to Broxton in save situations.

“I’ve seen too much good to let a little bit of bad influence me.”