Giants sit with a 5½-game cushion in NL West after series

Cary Edmondson/US PRESSWIRESan Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) looks towards left field after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth inning at AT&T Park.

Buster Posey homered and Barry Zito worked into the seventh inning as the Giants won the rubber game of the crucial National League West series 4-0 against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park on Sunday.

The Giants moved 5½ games ahead of the Dodgers with 22 to play behind a strong effort by Zito (11-8), who gave up four hits over 6¹⁄³ scoreless innings. The loss dropped the Dodgers 1½ games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the race for the league’s second wild-card spot.

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was scratched before the game with a hip flexor and replaced by Joe Blanton (9-13), who fell behind early on Hunter Pence’s two-out, two-run double in the first.

The Giants added to their lead in the fifth when Angel Pagan tripled with one out and scored on Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice fly. With 11 triples this season, Pagan is one shy of matching Steve Finley (2006) and Willie Mays (1960) for the most in a single season in franchise history.

Posey led off the sixth with his 20th homer, off Blanton, who yielded four runs over 5¹⁄³ innings.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the seventh before Shane Victorino flied out to left field against Santiago Casilla.

The heart of the Dodgers order — Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp — were a combined 5-for-36 during the three-game series. Kemp missed the last two games with inflammation in his left shoulder.

The teams will conclude the regular season with a three-game series in Los Angeles on Oct. 1-3.


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