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LAD@SF: Kershaw whiffs eight in six frames vs. Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers signed Mickey Hatcher on Tuesday, not to put him in the starting lineup although it might be coming to that.

They haven't scored in 21 innings, meaning Tuesday night was another shutout loss to the Giants, this time 2-0, the first time the Giants have thrown back-to-back blanks at the Dodgers in San Francisco since 1987 and the second time they've beaten Clayton Kershaw this year.

The Dodgers' division lead, as much as 7 1/2 games last month and five games nine days ago, is down to one as they've lost seven of eight games on this trip.

"What am I supposed to say to that?" was manager Don Mattingly's answer when asked what he thought of his offense. "Shut out two in a row, I can't say I love the way we swung the bats today."

But he didn't say he was about to do anything drastic about it.

"We stay the course, that's what we do," he said. "We know where we're at and what's going on. We've caught teams going one way and put hurt on them. They catch you at times like this and you look the same way. It's our job to make sure we don't panic. You get shut out a couple days in a row, frustration I think is normal. Our job as a staff is to make sure we don't panic and keep playing.

"I know my boys are trying. Just right now, collectively as a group, we're not getting anything going. I'm not disappointed, knowing they're trying. It's not like they've given up. I'm not worried about that. It's just a funk."

The Giants beat Kershaw and also tried to kill him. He survived a fifth-inning drilling by a Buster Posey line drive off his left hip, but not a two-run fourth inning that included a home run by Melky Cabrera, who was taught to hit by Mattingly in their Yankees years.

Kershaw, like many Dodgers pitchers lately, performed well enough to win. He battled through six innings, with eight hits and eight strikeouts. In four of the innings he stranded runners in scoring position.

After beating the Giants all five decisions last year, he's 0-2 against them this year, losing the other game 2-1. After going 21-5 last year, he's barely above .500 now at 5-4, despite a 2.74 ERA.

"I think we are frustrated. Losing's no fun," said Kershaw. "We have to take it out on the field. Stop and take the anger and aggression out on the field."

For this game against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong (7-3), Mattingly benched corner infielders James Loney and former Giant Juan Uribe, but that wasn't the answer. Again no Dodgers advanced past second base. The offense has been blanked three times in the last eight games and has one home run in the last 12 games.

"Obviously when you're not swinging the bats, it's tough to win games," said Kershaw. "At the same time, I've got to keep the zeros coming. Tonight I blinked and it cost us."

Kershaw, who has had trouble keeping the ball in the park this year, was taken deep by Cabrera on a low slider leading off the fourth inning. It was the 11th home run off Kershaw this year compared to 15 all last year.

"They got him early and it's almost like, the way we're swinging the bats, you give up one and you feel like you're in trouble," said Mattingly. "He got a little quick there for a second. But he got ahold of himself and moved forward. That's what you expect from him."

Posey followed with a single and was erased on a forceout by Angel Pagan, who stole second. Pablo Sandoval singled to right fielder Andre Ethier, who tried to decoy the runner by raising his glove and also seemed to lose momentum toward the ball, and his throw to the infield lacked pace.

Third-base coach Tim Flannery didn't wave Pagan home, but didn't stop him either, and Pagan kept coming to beat first baseman Juan Rivera's wide relay for the second run.

Kershaw had Brandon Belt 0-2, but Belt hung in there to double Sandoval to third and Kershaw walked Joaquin Arias intentionally to load the bases, then caught Vogelsong and Blanco with called third strikes to escape further damage.

The Dodgers' best chance was in the seventh. With one out, Jerry Hairston singled and Tony Gwynn followed with his second infield hit of the game, this one gloved by shortstop Arias whose backhand flip was wide of second base. But A.J. Ellis struck out and Loney, batting for Kershaw, flied out.

"It's hard to do, especially against a good club," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the back-to-back shutouts. "Our pitching has been right on this series. Vogey was tough today. That's hard to do, and that's a credit to this staff, this bullpen."

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