SAN FRANCISCO -- Creating another episode in what could develop into a long-running series, Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw and San Francisco's Ty Blach combined to forge their second compelling matchup in as many meetings Tuesday as the Dodgers outlasted the Giants, 2-1.
Kershaw played the role of an ace perfectly as he yielded San Francisco's lone run and six hits in seven innings. Kershaw pitched nearly the entire game in discomfort, having been hit on the right calf by the first batter he faced, Hunter Pence.
"He knew what this game meant for us," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "We needed to win this game. With some of the things going on [injuries and short starts], we needed to turn it up today."
Kershaw thus evened the score against Blach, a fellow left-hander who permitted two runs and four hits in five innings. Last Oct. 1, the rookie lasted eight innings to defeat the formidable Kershaw, 3-0.
"I think it doesn't matter who you're going up against. Every time, you want to compete and give your team a chance to win," said Blach, who has one Major League victory to Kershaw's 130 and zero Cy Young Awards to Kershaw's three. "It doesn't matter who that matchup is. Obviously, you know it's going to be Kershaw, so you need to keep your team close."
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out pinch-hitter Brandon Belt with two on and two outs in the eighth inning before working the ninth to secure his fifth save and third four-out save of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Turner's alert trip: The Dodgers may have stolen a run in the fourth inning. With runners at the corners, nobody out and a run in, Adrian Gonzalez hit a grounder to first baseman Buster Posey, the All-Star catcher who switched positions so another right-handed batter (Nick Hundley) could get in the game. Posey glanced briefly at Justin Turner, the runner at third, to hold him there, then threw to second base for a forceout.
Immediately upon taking Posey's relay, shortstop Brandon Crawford fired the ball home and might have nabbed the sliding Turner. But his throw short-hopped Hundley, who couldn't hold on to the ball long enough to make the tag.
"That just says something about the player," said Roberts. "Last night he makes an aggressive play that gets him to second base [on a wild pitch], then he makes an aggressive play and gets thrown out to end the game. He plays the way you're supposed to play. To read the throw, and make Crawford make a perfect throw, that was the deciding run, and credit to J.T."
At bat, Blach's at home: Maybe Blach should teach a seminar on handling Kershaw. He ran his improbable batting average against the Dodgers ace to .600 (3-for-5) by launching a third-inning double in two at-bats. He proceeded to score the Giants' lone run on Posey's single. When their paths crossed last Oct. 1, Blach went 2-for-3 off Kershaw.
"Sometimes you just swing hard and get lucky," Blach said. "Actually, Madison [Bumgarner] came over before the game and said, 'Hey, he's probably going to try to throw you up and in since he threw you [outside] last time.' So I was kind of looking for a pitch in that vicinity."
"Sometimes you're aggressive on the bases and look [stupid]. Sometimes you're aggressive on the bases and it wins a ballgame." -- Turner
A PAIR OF FIRSTS
This was a big night for one prospect from each team, Los Angeles left fielder Cody Bellinger and San Francisco third baseman Christian Arroyo. Each collected his first Major League hit. Arroyo's was a first-inning single; Bellinger's was a ninth-inning single.
"It's one of those things I won't forget," Arroyo said. "Hopefully, there'll be many more where that came from."
Bellinger's came on a 3-0 pitch he cued for an infield single.
"Not what I expected it to be, but I'll take it," said Bellinger, son of former Major Leaguer Clay Bellinger. "I think I'm going to give it to my mom. I think she'd enjoy it the most."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
San Francisco's Eduardo Nunez appeared to be thrown at second on a stolen-base attempt to end the first inning. But the Giants challenged the ruling, which was overturned.
The Dodgers challenged a safe call at third base by umpire Todd Tichenor on Posey, who went first to third on a single by Crawford. The call was confirmed and Posey was safe.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers:Alex Wood gets his third start this year in place of the injured Rich Hill in the Wednesday 7:15 p.m. PT game, while Cody Bellinger is expected to get his second Major League start in the outfield after his callup Tuesday. Wood is 0-2 against the Giants and has an 8.31 ERA at AT&T Park.
Giants:Johnny Cueto's coming off his first loss of the season, having allowed all of Colorado's runs in a 6-5 setback last Friday. Facing the Dodgers in Wednesday's 7:15 p.m. PT contest might benefit Cueto, who finished 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts against Los Angeles last season.