SAN FRANCISCO — A.J. Ellis hit a three-run double in the ninth inning, All-Star Clayton Kershaw made a third straight stellar start and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the slumping San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Sunday.
Kershaw (8-5), a candidate to start the All-Star game for the National League, wasn't as sharp as he'd been in his previous two starts but still only allowed one run over eight innings. He helped the Dodgers move into second place in the West heading into a three-game series with division-leading Arizona.
Hanley Ramirez doubled and tripled to extend his career-high hitting streak to 18 games while rookie Yasiel Puig added two hits, including a single that started the rally in the ninth.
Guillermo Quiroz doubled and scored for San Francisco, which has dropped 11 of 13.
Kershaw and Giants starter Chad Gaudin engaged in a tight duel, with Gaudin working seven innings.
Puig singled off Giants closer Sergio Romo (3-4) to open the ninth. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a sharp single that first baseman Buster Posey initially knocked down. Posey tried flipping the ball to shortstop Joaquin Arias covering second but threw the ball into left field for an error
When San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval raced to retrieve the ball, Puig alertly advanced to third. Hanley Ramirez was retired on a comebacker, Andre Ethier was intentionally walked to load the bases and Juan Uribe struck out before Ellis lined a two-out double into left-center.
That secured Kershaw's third win over the Giants this season while keeping the NL's ERA leader in line for a possible start in the All-Star game in New York on July 16. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy, who will lead the National League, will make the decision.
Kershaw allowed the Giants only run in the third after Quiroz doubled, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Andres Torres' sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers ace retired the next seven batters before walking Gaudin to open the sixth. But Torres grounded into a double play and Marco Scutaro flew out to end the inning.
Kershaw also pitched out of a two-on, two-out jam in the eighth before Kenley Jansen worked the ninth for his ninth save.
Gaudin, who had been out since getting hit in the right elbow by a line drive from Miami's Derek Dietrich on June 20, was just as sharp as the Dodgers' three-time All-Star.
He retired 12 of 13 during one stretch and also worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the seventh by striking out Uribe before departing. Gaudin finished with nine strikeouts – his most since June 28, 2009 – and one intentional walk.
Ramirez tripled leading off the second against Gaudin and Ethier followed with a bloop single to drive in the Dodgers first run.
Puig, who struck out twice in his first three at-bats after fanning four times on Saturday, made a diving catch on a fly ball by Quiroz in the eighth.
NOTES: LHP Mike Kickham was optioned to Triple-A Fresno before the game to make room for Gaudin. ... OF Matt Kemp was held out of the lineup to rest his ailing shoulder but is expected back in the Dodgers lineup on Monday. ... Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said newly acquired Ricky Nolasco will replace LHP Chris Capuano in the Dodgers rotation. ... Giants RHP Santiago Casilla will pitch at least twice more in the minors before rejoining the big league club, Bochy said. ... San Francisco also got good news on RHP Ryan Vogelsong, who has missed the past two months with a broken right hand. Vogelsong played catch before Sunday's game and could resume throwing off a mound as early as the All-Star break. ... Home run king Barry Bonds was in attendance. ... RHP Zack Greinke (6-2) pitches the series opener in Arizona for the Dodgers. ... San Francisco RHP Tim Lincecum (4-9) will go against the Mets seeking his first win since June 4.