In position to move into a first-place tie atop the division, the Dodgers look to complete their first road sweep of the Giants in two years Sunday when Clayton Kershaw tries to avoid a third straight loss this season to Ryan Vogelsong.
Less than 24 hours after Hanley Ramirez delivered a two-run homer in the 10th inning of Los Angeles’ 5-3 series opening victory, Matt Kemp homered for one of his four hits and Chad Billingsley pitched 7 1-3 strong innings to help the Dodgers (55-47) rout San Francisco 10-0 on Saturday. This series appears headed in the complete opposite direction from last month when the Giants outscored a Dodgers’ team minus Kemp and Ramirez 13-0 during a three-game sweep June 25-27.
“They were missing a few components the last time we played them,” Saturday’s losing pitcher Barry Zito said. “It’s a solid lineup and a good challenge.”
Los Angeles is 6-3 on its 10-game trip and one game behind the Giants (55-45), who have dropped three straight after winning nine of 11. The Dodgers last swept a series at San Francisco from June 28-30, 2010.
Ramirez, who had three RBIs on Saturday, is 6 for 16 with six RBIs in four games since being acquired from Miami on Wednesday.
“(Ramirez has) always been one of my favorite players and now we’re on the same team,” said Kemp, who went 1 for 13 in his previous three games against the Giants before breaking out Saturday. “He’s going to help us.”
After totaling 15 runs and 25 hits in the first two games, it would appear Los Angeles has a good chance to sweep. However, Vogelsong (8-4, 2.26 ERA) has allowed one run over 14 1-3 innings in two wins over Los Angeles in 2012.
Vogelsong, whose 1.41 ERA in 10 home starts is the lowest in the NL, gave up one run in seven innings of a 7-1 victory over San Diego on Monday to improve to 5-0 with a 1.27 ERA in his last eight at AT&T Park since a loss to Miami on May 3.
“He’s been solid all year and so consistent,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official website. “He goes out there and does it again.”
The right-hander’s current successful home stretch includes a 2-0 win over the Dodgers on June 26 when he posted seven strong innings.
Kershaw (7-6, 3.14) has been on the losing end of both of Vogelsong’s victories over Los Angeles this season despite giving up four runs and striking out 15 over 14 innings. The Dodgers have totaled one run in those contests.
“Just because I came out on the right side in two games with him that doesn’t change (anything),” Vogelsong said.
Though Kershaw’s career 1.45 ERA versus San Francisco is the lowest all-time - over a minimum 50 innings - against the club, the left-hander looks to bounce back after allowing a season-high eight runs in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-2 defeat at St. Louis on Tuesday to suffer one more loss than he did in 2011.
One of All-Star Melky Cabrera’s two hits in seven at-bats against Kershaw left the park. Despite an 0-for-3 performance Saturday, Cabrera is batting .355 (11 for 31) against the Dodgers this season.
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