Dodgers' Kershaw gets a little help on No. 20

2-1, 1-0, 2-1 and 2-1. Those are the final scores when Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum have locked up this year. Kershaw has won them all, the latest coming Tuesday night as he padded his Cy Young credentials with his 20th victory as the Dodgers pushed over .500 for the first time since April 29.

Kershaw (20-5) allowed six hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings, walked two and struck out six to become the first Dodgers pitcher to go 5-0 against the Giants since Vic Lombardi in 1946. He did it on what would have been Lombardi's 89th birthday.

Four of those victories came against two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, with Kershaw allowing one earned run in those games.

"It's frustrating, obviously," Lincecum said. "But when you go up against a guy like that who's having a year like this, you've got to be on your game. Every run counts, so you can't go out there and give him a two-run lead and kind of put the ball in his court to put his foot down because he tends to do that a lot. And it's not just against us."

The last Dodgers pitcher to win 20 games was Ramon Martinez, back in 1990. Kershaw, 23, is also the youngest 20-game winner in Dodgers history since Martinez, and he is the first Dodgers pitcher to go 5-0 against the Giants in one season since Vic Lombardi in 1946.

"As a pitcher, 20 wins is somewhat of a benchmark for having a great season," Kershaw said. "I don't discredit that. I'm thankful. But it's really a team thing. Getting runs early like that tonight -- it seems like it happens a lot lately. More than anything, to have an individual get 20 wins, a lot of things have to go right. It's an accomplishment for our team."

Kershaw needed some help from his bullpen to get the 20th win. He took a five-hit shutout in the eighth inning and was at 99 pitches. After Justin Christian flied out to left, catcher Chris Stewart hit a solo home run and the score was 2-1.

Then Kershaw allowed his first walk of the game, to pinch hitter Pat Burrell. With the speedy Darren Ford pinch running at first, Kershaw's attention was divided and he walked Andres Torres. That ended his night.

But to the rescue was the catcher who caught Kershaw's first bullpen session in the minors: Kenley Jansen.

The catcher-turned-stopper struck out pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval on three pitches, then struck out Carlos Beltran on four pitches to extinguish the fire. Kershaw was there at the top of the dugout to congratulate Jansen for his performance.

"Kensey was unbelievable," Kershaw said. "He's been like that, other than that first month, pretty much the whole season. It's nice to know there's a guy like that who can come in and strike out everybody. You kinda relax a little. He's been unbelievable. He had a whole lot to do with it tonight."

The latest on Kershaw's run at the Cy Young award:

--He leads the majors in ERA at 2.27, 0.02 ahead of AL leader Justin Verlander.

--He leads the National League in strikeouts with 242, just two behind Verlander for the most in the majors.

--He is tied with Ian Kennedy with 20 wins, most in the National League.

That means Kershaw is leading, or tied, in the pitchers' Triple Crown categories. No pitcher has ever won the pitchers' Triple Crown and not won the Cy Young.

"I see him every five days," manager Don Mattingly said. "I'm really prejudiced to how good this guy is. But there's not too much chance that anybody is any better than this guy this year."

NOTES, QUOTES
--CF Matt Kemp was named the Roy Campanella award winner, voted on by his teammates for the player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. Kemp will be honored on the field before Wednesday's game.

--Kershaw is the 16th 20-game winner in Dodgers' history. At 23, Kershaw became the second-youngest 20-game winner in Dodgers' history behind Martinez, who was 22 in 1990.

--The Dodgers improved to 23-20 in one-run games, including a 16-7 mark at home.

--OF Tony Gwynn Jr. was not available Tuesday and will probably not be able to play in the entire Giants series because of a shoulder injury. Gwynn hopes to be available this weekend when the Dodgers are in San Diego, his hometown. The Dodgers are optimistic he'll play again before the season ends.

--OF Jerry Sands homered for the second straight game, driving a 2-2 pitch from Tim Lincecum well into the left-field bleachers. Sands is 17-for-44 in 12 games since his promotion from the minors on Sept. 6.

--1B James Loney continued his torrid hitting with two hits, including an RBI single in the first inning. Loney was 6-for-37 against Tim Lincecum in his career before the game, but both of his hits Tuesday were against the two-time Cy Young winner. Loney is crushing everybody lately. He has 10 hits in his last 15 at-bats.

--RHP Javy Guerra saved his 19th game. It was the third time he has saved a one-run victory for LHP Clayton Kershaw over RHP Tim Lincecum.

BY THE NUMBERS: 89 -- Years old that Vic Lombardi would have been Tuesday, if he were still alive. Lombardi was the last Dodgers pitcher to go 5-0 in a season against the Giants. That happened in 1946, which is just before Vin Scully started broadcasting games for the Dodgers.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "No doubt he's the team leader. Matt did everything that you could ask. He's been good on defense, he's stolen bases, he's hitting for average, hitting for power, and he's been a leader all over the club -- around the clubhouse, in the dugout. Anything that comes his way this year, he deserves."

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