Two words: Kershaw Day.
Clayton Kershaw recorded his 200th strikeout of the season and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants, 3-1, in the rubber match of the final series of the season with their rivals on Sunday at Chavez Ravine.
Kershaw made just one mistake on an otherwise sensational outing as the three-time Cy Young Award winner left a 92MPH fastball up in the zone in the top of the eighth inning that Mac Williamson sent over the center field wall for the Giants only run of the game.
Other than that one pitch, Kershaw (18-4) was dominant for the Dodgers, scattering eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts over eight innings as he recorded his Major League leading 18th win of the season, despite missing nearly two months.
"That was big today. I think every ball that hit hard was on the ground right at somebody," Kershaw said following the win. "Win a series and start to get a little bit more consistent with the team."
Los Angeles catcher Yasmani Grandal was responsible for all the runs in the game for the Dodgers.
Curtis Granderson led off the second inning with a single, and advanced to third on a double by Logan Forysthe. Two batters later, Grandal hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Granderson, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
"I was able to get a ball in the air in my first at-bat," Grandal said of the run-scoring sacrifice fly. "I just missed it."
Grandal added two more runs in the fourth inning when he hit a first pitch fastball from Chris Stratton over the center field fence for a two-run home run.
"I was just looking for something to hit, pretty much," said Grandal of his home run. "I didn't think that ball was going to go out. I definitely didn't get it all. I guess it was my lucky day."
Grandal finished the game, 1-for-1 with a home run, walk, three RBI, and a run scored.
Kershaw was making his final start at home in the regular season as he is expected to pitch one more time in Colorado before getting ready for the MLB playoffs.
Kershaw ends his season at home with a record of 9-2 with an ERA of 2.59 in 14 starts at the Ravine.
Kershaw improved to 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA in five starts against the Giants this season, and became the first Dodger in history to record seven different seasons with 200 or more strikeouts.
"I take pride in my consistency," Kershaw said of the record seven seasons with 200 or more strikeouts. "I've missed time the last two years, but more than anything it shows a little bit of consistency which is cool."
Brandon Morrow, not Kenley Jansen, pitched the ninth inning, with Morrow recording his second save of the season.
The victory gave the Dodgers their 11th win of the season against San Francisco, as they took the overall series 11-8 for the first time since 2014.
Los Angeles has 99 wins on the season, the most by a Dodger team since 1974 when they finished 102-60. They are one game ahead of the Cleveland Indians for the best record in baseball.
The Dodgers aslo hold the best record in baseball during day games at 29-14, with one more afternoon remaining next Sunday in Denver.
The Dodgers will welcome the San Diego Padres to Tinseltown on Monday for the final three games at Dodger Stadium on the season. LHP Travis Wood will start on Monday opposite RHP Yu Darvish. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.