Pablo Sandoval drove in two runs and Madison Bumgarner outdueled Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw as the visiting Giants won the opener of a pivotal three-game series 2-1 on Monday.
Bumgarner (14-7) gave up four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings to help the Giants move a half-game ahead of the rival Dodgers in the National League West.
The Dodgers threatened in the ninth, when Hanley Ramirez homered with two outs off Sergio Romo. But Javier Lopez came on and retired Andre Ethier on a ground ball for his second save.
Kershaw (11-7) lost for the first time in his last five starts after allowing two runs with no walks and 10 strikeouts over eight innings.
The Giants, who were outscored 19-3 by the Dodgers in a three-game sweep at AT&T Park last month, grabbed an early lead when Angel Pagan doubled to lead off the game, moved to third on Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice and scored on Sandoval’s sacrifice fly to left field.
Pagan scored again in the sixth when he singled with two outs and advanced on Scutaro’s single before reaching home on Sandoval’s single.
Kershaw and Luis Cruz had two hits apiece for the only Los Angeles hits before Ramirez’s blast over the center field wall in the ninth. Giants catcher Buster Posey threw out two attempted base stealers, giving him a National League-best 23 caught this season.
Matt Kemp went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 19 at-bats for the Dodgers, who fell to 6-10 at home since the All-Star break.
NOTES: Bumgarner threw 123 pitches, one short of his career high. ... Dodgers manager Don Mattingly returned after serving a two-game suspension for excessive arguing Thursday in Pittsburgh. ... The Giants improved to 59-2 when leading after eight innings. ... Cruz is batting .469 (15-for-32) over his last 11 games. ... San Francisco has not lost a series on the road since dropping two of three games at Pittsburgh from July 6-8.