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SF@LAD: Kershaw strikes out 10 against the Giants

With the two teams exchanging hard-fought, close victories to begin what can fairly be called a crucial weekend series, the outcome of Sunday night's Dodgers-Giants matchup figures to set the tone for the rest of the National League West race.

Either way it turns out, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly looks back to the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals for an example that there's still plenty of time left. The Cardinals were 7 1/2 games out as of this date last year and went on to win the World Series; the Dodgers enter Sunday's game 4 1/2 behind the Giants.

"I remember, and I think a lot about it, we swept St. Louis four straight and they were getting booed and it looked like a dead team with no chance. Two weeks later, they caught fire and rolled right through," said Mattingly, whose Dodgers remain in a tight Wild Card race with the Cardinals and Braves as well. "We've got to get on that roll."

Having won Saturday, the Dodgers turn to Joe Blanton in the weekend finale, meeting Barry Zito in a battle of veteran hurlers.

Blanton gets the call for Clayton Kershaw, who was scratched hours before the game with a sore hip.

Zito, meanwhile, got a bit of a quick hook in his last outing, lasting just five innings while giving up four runs to the D-backs. The Giants wound up winning that one in extra innings.

Zito has gone 1-2 with a 3.44 ERA (seven earned runs, 18 1/3 innings) in three outings against the Dodgers this season.

Dodgers: Kennedy's loss affects infield
After aggravating a right groin strain Friday night, Adam Kennedy is probably lost for the remainder of the season, Mattingly said before Saturday's game.

"I think it's pretty bad," said Mattingly. "He hasn't had an MRI, but he felt something pop. Nothing's definitive, but I don't know if there's a chance for him to play again this year. It doesn't sound very good."

Luis Cruz was back in the lineup for Saturday's game, and Mattingly said right-handed hitter Juan Uribe and switch-hitter Nick Punto become the backups at third base and second base with Kennedy out.

• Matt Kemp had a contrast MRI taken on his injured left shoulder, which flared up in San Francisco after being sustained Aug. 28 in Colorado when he crashed into the outfield wall. The Dodgers hope he can return to action Tuesday in Arizona after the test revealed inflammation and labrum fraying.

Giants: Not missing Melky
The Giants haven't really lost a step since Melky Cabrera was lost for the remainder of the regular season on a drug suspension, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the play of newcomer Marco Scutaro and center fielder Angel Pagan have been big reasons why.

"Something special has to happen when you lose a player like that. Someone else has to pick it up, and we've gotten picked up by Pagan and Scutaro's play," Bochy said.

Scutaro doubled Saturday and now has hit safely in 32 of 40 games in a Giants uniform. Pagan took an oh-fer Ssturday but has 35 hits and 25 runs in his last 26 games.

Worth noting
• The Giants now lead the season series 8-6 heading into Sunday's finale, with the two teams meeting once more in a season-ending series at Dodger Stadium, Oct. 1-3.

• After Sunday's game and an off-day Monday, the Dodgers will be in Arizona for a two-game set against the D-backs. The Giants, meanwhile, hit the road for Colorado, starting a three-game series Monday. Comments