On a night that featured a matchup of reigning MVPs, it was the 2012 NL MVP that was the difference.
Buster Posey went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 on Tuesday to even the three-game series at a game apiece.
For the second consecutive time, the battle of the MVPs lived up to its billing. Reigning NL MVP Clayton Kershaw and 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner dominated their domain for the entirety of the evening.
But in the end it was Bumgarner (2-1) who came out victorious as the southpaw allowed one run on just five hits with nine strikeouts in eight superb innings.
"It's going to bring out the best in you, for sure. There's no way around that," said Bumgarner about the pitching duel with Kershaw. "You know that anytime you're facing him, it's going to be tough to scratch some runs across and were able to score just enough to win, so it was a big win for us."
Kershaw (1-2) fell for the second time this season. He allowed two runs on seven hits, with eight strikeouts in seven innings.
"I gave up two, he gave up one. He pitched eight innings. I pitched seven. So yeah, I got out pitched," Kershaw said matter of factly. "I have a lot respect for Madison [Bumgarner] and what he does, but I don't care who I pitch against."
Going into the game Kershaw had been tremendous against San Francisco. Kershaw's 1.48 ERA and opposing batting average of .184 is the lowest all-time against the Giants. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner drops to 14-6 and Tuesday's loss was his first against the Giants since September 13, 2013.
Posey singled home a run in the first inning to put the Giants on the board 1-0. In his next at-bat, he hit a 94MPH fastball to dead center and the Giants were up 2-0. It was just Posey's second career homer off of Kershaw as the star catcher has a lifetime batting average of .200 against him.
Howie Kendrick grounded into a fielder's choice with runners on second and third in the bottom half of the 4th inning. Jimmy Rollins scored on the play to make the game 2-1.
Bumgarner would shut the Dodgers down from there and Santiago Casilla struck out Adrian Gonzalez to end the game earning his sixth save in seven chances.
The Dodgers announced before the game that outfielder Carl Crawford suffered a torn oblique while legging out a triple the night prior. In his stead, the boys in blue called up Kike Hernandez from Triple-A Oklahoma City and started him in center field for his Dodgers debut.
Hot-hitting Alex Guerrero made his first ever start in left field and Scott Van Slyke moved to right field to replace the injured Yasiel Puig. In all, five players made a rare appearance from the Dodgers every day lineup.
"It certainly was different," said Bumgarner of Mattingly's patchwork quilt of a lineup. "I thought to myself, 'When's the next time I'm going to face a lefty?' But I don't mind either way. You've still got to make pitches to whoever you're facing."
The Dodgers head in to Wednesday with their eight game home winning streak snapped and a record of 2-4 in one run games.
Juan Uribe extended his hitting streak to 10 games. It was USC night at Dodger Stadium as Trojans head football coach Steve Sarkisian threw out the first pitch before the game.