SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy has seen his team surge to baseball's best record, endure a summer-long skid and rally back into playoff contention, so he refuses to count his club out now.
"You can't look ahead and say you have to do this or that. You have to focus on the task on hand," Bochy said. "Nothing changes. You go out and try to win every game. There's baseball left and this is a tough group."
Los Angeles leaned on its ace for the rubber game of a series that had been as topsy-turvy as any the rivals have ever played. The Dodgers won 17-0 on Saturday after losing 9-0 to the Giants on Friday.
Kershaw (19-3) boosted his credentials for the NL MVP and a third Cy Young Award with another big performance in a big start. The left-hander allowed seven hits, struck out nine and walked one in eight innings.
He lowered his majors-best ERA to 1.70, and put the Dodgers in command of the division.
"It's obviously a huge series for us, and the way we did it is pretty cool," Kershaw said.
The Dodgers and Giants have split 16 games this season. They have three games left against each other at Dodger Stadium next week, but San Francisco might be left trying to hold onto a wild card spot by then.
The Giants cracked Kershaw in the third, though they wasted the opportunity. Posey singled home Petit to slice Los Angeles' lead to 2-1 before getting thrown out by center fielder Yasiel Puig going for second, stranding Joe Panik on third.
"When you make a couple of mistakes and have a guy like Kershaw on the mound, it comes back to hurt you," Bochy said.
San Francisco seemed to be regaining the momentum behind Petit (5-4) and the announced sellout crowd of 41,932, but Kemp ended that with one swing in the sixth. His two-run homer to left-center put the Dodgers up 4-1, touching off another bubble-filled celebration in the visiting dugout at AT&T Park.
Petit gave up four runs — three earned — and eight hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked none.
Kershaw was thrown out at second by right fielder Hunter Pence trying to stretch a single into a double in the seventh. In the bottom half, Duffy's bloop single drove in another run for the Giants.
But Kershaw quickly squashed San Francisco's rally.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly visited the mound after Kershaw retired Panik on one pitch in the eighth. He kept Kershaw in the game, and the lefty struck out Posey on three pitches before Pence flied out.
"He's pretty much what you expect," Posey said. "He mixes pitches well and attacks the strike zone. With him you have to chip away when you can. I thought we put together some good at bats throughout the game, but we just didn't come out on top."
Dodgers 2B Dee Gordon and Puig got tangled up going for Duffy's bloop in shallow center field, but both stayed in the game. Mattingly said Puig collided with one of Gordon's knees, which is just a little sore.
Dodgers: RHP Carlos Frias (0-0, 3.91 ERA) will likely make his second career start Wednesday at Colorado in place of Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is scheduled to have an MRI on his troublesome left shoulder Monday.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (concussion) will face pitchers before Monday's game at Arizona and will likely be activated Tuesday or Wednesday.
Dodgers: RHP Roberto Hernandez (8-11, 4.04 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Colorado on Monday.
Giants: RHP Ryan Vogelsong (8-10, 3.90 ERA) takes the mound at Arizona on Monday.