Bumgarner rolls over Kershaw for sweep

Clayton Kershaw doesn’t give up many home runs, especially to the Giants.

From the current San Francisco roster, only Buster Posey had taken Kershaw deep — twice.

Madison Bumgarner (W, 5-2, 2.84 ERA) changed that quickly, hammering the very first pitch he saw from the other ace — a fastball down the pipe — deep to left field for a solo homer in the Giants’ sweeping 4-0 win over the Dodgers on Thursday. The Silver Slugger award winner downplayed his contribution:

“I’m happy about it … We knew runs were going to be at a premium.”

But Manager Bruce Bochy knew Bumgarner was glad to get his swing going again:

“He works hard on his hitting.”

So, Bumgarner takes round three of the NL West’s ultimate pitching duel. For those keeping track, Bumgarner and the Giants are 3-0 against Kershaw (L, 2-3, 4.32 ERA) and his Dodgers in 2015 Bumgarner can claim two of those wins this season after a no-decision on April 22 in L.A.

Bochy noted that the rivalry might pump a little more adrenaline throughout the club, but Bumgarner stayed typically cool:

“You got to treat it like another game … It’s fun to watch, but at the same time you got to worry about just getting people out.”

Bumgarner also holds a career four wins over Kershaw’s one when these two meet up.

But wait, there’s more.

Exclusive photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Bumgarner’s 6-1/3 innings of shutout ball, and the bullpen’s 3-2/3 innings of the same, puts Giants pitchers at 27 consecutive innings without giving up a run. Thursday was the Giants’ seventh shutout this May, the most in the majors.

And for all the ‘Beat LA’ chanters, today’s win put the Giants at 10-12 against all Los Angeles teams in 2015.

At AT&T Park, Los Angeles (the Angels and Dodgers) is a cool 0-9 with four shutout losses. The Giants have completed back-to-back home sweeps over the Dodgers for the first time since 1961. Bochy said of the good vibes:

“That’s a really good hitting ball club that our pitchers shutout … I think we’re becoming more of who we are.”

Bumgarner did all he could to secure that 1-0 lead he created at the plate, keeping the Dodgers off-balance just enough to strike out six of them in 107 pitches; He and his manager agreed that he would get the first out of the seventh and call it a day.

Bochy didn’t hesitate to commend his multi-talented starter:

“He’s really intense every time he goes out there.”

And so did Brandon Belt:

“You love having a pitcher in your own lineup that can help his own cause.”

Bumgarner may single-handedly end the debate over the necessity for a designated hitter in the NL.

Though on the losing side of one of baseball’s best match-ups — and despite the cloud over his head after giving up a home run to the opposing pitcher — Kershaw did his thing. He made few mistakes, fanning seven over 7-1/3 innings.

Today, Bumgarner’s homer made a dent before Buster Posey, Angel Pagan and, finally, Hunter Pence cracked things open.

Pence, who entered the game 0-for-8 at home, finally broke free. His first hit in front of the adoring home crowd was a clutch one, an RBI single in the fifth that scored Pagan from second and put the Giants up 2-0.

Pence struck again in the eighth after Kershaw’s departure, with another single to score Pagan from third off Chris Hatcher to put the Giants up 3-0.

Posey, who singled to extend his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games, crossed the plate for the Giants’ fourth and final run in the eighth off a Brandon Crawford single.

For that cherry on top of this shutout sweep, look at the standings. The Giants’ season-high six consecutive wins has put them at 1-1/2 games behind the Dodgers.

The Giants will begin their quest for that top spot tomorrow, when the start a seven-game road trip in Colorado, including a doubleheader on Saturday at Coors Field to make up for an April rainout. Bochy said Yusmeiro Petit could start that extra game.