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Behind Kershaw, Dodgers complete sweep of Giants

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LOS ANGELES -- His funk fractured, his mojo returned, back to winning ways once again, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw felt comfortable enough to joke with reporters Wednesday night.

That's what a win will do.

That's especially what a win will do after a month-long losing streak for a pitcher of Kershaw's ilk.

Asked about his first victory since May 20, a 4-2 decision Wednesday night over the San Francisco Giants that snapped a personal three-game losing streak, Kershaw offered a little sass.

"Thanks for reminding me."

But after an eight-inning, seven-strikeout, four-hit, two-run performance that upped his career record against Tim Lincecum up to 5-0, Kershaw wasn't the only Dodger in a good mood.

Los Angeles' season-high fifth straight win brought snapped towels, laughs and cheer to the home clubhouse at Dodger Stadium. A three-game sweep of San Francisco that included 29 hits has the Dodgers (35-42) believing they might be able to turn the corner.

"It's confidence; you start going out every day and putting some wins together, obviously it feels good," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "The guys get fired up. Music in the locker room. When this is going on, you're expecting to win.

"In the other scenario, it's like you're expecting something to go wrong."

Aside from one bad pitch to Buster Posey, nothing went wrong for Kershaw.

Posey gave the Giants a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning, driving a Kershaw offering for a homer to left-center field. The blast scored Marco Scutaro, who walked to open the inning.

Kershaw (6-5) managed 71 strikes on 104 pitches as the Giants tried to jump on him early. He settled down after the homer to allow no hits until Scutaro singled to open the ninth inning, prompting Mattingly to insert reliever Kenley Jansen, who finished the game for his sixth save.

"Posey is going to hit homers; that's what he does," Kershaw said. "But it should've been a solo home run. If I could take that back, it would be a pretty good night."

Added Mattingly: "They were trying to get to him early. You know he's going to come after you early with strikes, and you take a risk when you try to get him early of leaving his pitch count low. If you don't get to him, you have to deal with him all night."

Even with Matt Kemp back out of the starting lineup after a one-game cameo following his return from the disabled list, the Los Angeles lineup lit up Lincecum.

Four Dodgers had multiple hits, including Yasiel Puig, who went 3-for-4 a day after going hitless in four at-bats. Adrian Gonzalez, Juan Uribe and Hanley Ramirez each had two hits, and Ramirez drove in a run for the sixth straight game.

"Hanley's really good, he can really hit," Mattingly said. "None of this stuff surprises me. I'm watching him tonight, and I'm thinking of Manny (Ramirez). He's that good. He's a special talent."

Lincecum allowed 10 hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 4.64 in the process.

Los Angeles pounced on Lincecum in the sixth inning, using four hits and two steals to score three and take the 4-2 lead. Ethier drove in Ramirez with a single, and A.J. Ellis followed with a double to score Ethier. Ellis subsequently scored on a wild pitch.

Los Angeles took an early lead in the third inning. Ramirez, who has hit safely in nine consecutive games, brought home Mark Ellis with a single to right field as the Dodgers handed the Giants their 25th loss in 40 games.

San Francisco (38-40) dropped two games below .500 for the first time this year.

"It's always tough when you go through a stretch like we're going through," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Only thing you can do is keep grinding and believe it's going to turn around. We have a day off tomorrow, and it probably comes at a good time. We need to regroup."

NOTES: Kemp has been hampered by injuries throughout the year, and he has already missed 24 games. ... Ramirez's six-game RBI streak is the team's longest of the year. ... Puig went hitless Tuesday for just the fourth time in 21 games. ... San Francisco fell below .500 on Tuesday for the first time since Opening Day. It was the latest the Giants were below .500 since 2008. ... Giants INF Joaquin Arias continues to be plagued by a sore hamstring he suffered Monday, and he could end up on the disabled list. ... Dodgers OF Scott Van Slyke moved his rehab assignment to Class A Rancho Cucamonga and went 1-for-4 Wednesday. ... The Giants have scored just 16 runs in their last seven contests and 28 in their last 11.
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