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10/03/2012 11:08 PM EDT
Dodgers beat Giants 5-1 to end season
LA DODGERS 5, SAN FRANCISCO 1

By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- With nothing at stake in the last game of the
season, many teams' aces would take the day off. Not Clayton
Kershaw.



The left-hander finished with a major league-leading 2.53 ERA,
Adrian Gonzalez singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning,
and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants
5-1 on Wednesday, a day after being eliminated from playoff
contention for the third straight year by the NL West champions.



"He's as good as anybody in the game," Dodgers manager Don
Mattingly said. "He loves pitching."



Kershaw (14-9) allowed one run and three hits in eight innings,
struck out eight and walked three in his 33rd start, tying a
career high.



He assessed his season as "all right."



"If we make the playoffs next season it will be a great year,"
Kershaw said. "Not making the postseason, that's kind of what we
play for."



The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner recorded 229 strikeouts,
one behind NL leader R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets. The
left-hander became the first pitcher to lead the league in ERA
in consecutive seasons since Arizona's Randy Johnson in 2001-02.



Kershaw became the first Dodgers pitcher to do so since Sandy
Koufax accomplished the feat from 1962-66.



"I don't care," he said about his ERA crown. "It was fun to get
a win and hopefully build off these last nine games."



Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp struck out twice to end the season 0
for 10 with seven strikeouts in the three-game series, which the
Dodgers won, 2-1, giving them four straight series victories for
the first time this season.



Afterward, Kemp announced he will have left shoulder surgery
Friday. He has a torn labrum.



"They're going to see what's going on inside of there and
hopefully just clean it up," the right-handed hitter said. "If
they need to do more, they'll do more, but I won't know anything
until I wake up."



Gonzalez finished on a 15-game hitting streak, longest on the
team he joined from Boston on Aug. 25. He drove in Andre Ethier,
who doubled, with two outs to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. They
tied the game 1-1 on Kershaw's RBI single in the fifth - the
Dodgers' first hit off Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, who also
retired his first 10 batters.



"Kept me about .200 for the year," said a smiling Kershaw, who
actually hit .207. "It was a big hit."



Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 26th save in 32 chances.



Clay Hensley (4-5) gave up one run and two hits in one inning to
take the loss for the Giants, who open the NL division series on
Saturday against Cincinnati.



Giants catcher Buster Posey went 0 for 2, finishing the regular
season with a .336 average to claim the NL batting title. He's
the first Giants player to win it since Barry Bonds in 2004 and
the first Giants catcher to do so. The previous catcher to win
the NL title was Boston's Ernie Lombardi, who hit .330 in 1942.



"I don't think it's something that you ever think about doing,"
Posey said. "It's such a long season, and from day one, you try
to grind out at-bats no matter what the situation is. And if you
can go up there and are able to make some adjustments, good
things will happen."



The Dodgers made it 5-1 in the eighth on homers by Alex
Castellanos and Juan Rivera, who had a two-run shot.



San Francisco led 1-0 in the fourth on Posey's RBI groundout to
shortstop, scoring Marco Scutaro, who singled to extend his
hitting streak to 20 games.



Vogelsong allowed one run on two hits in five innings, struck
out seven and walked one.



NOTES: The Giants will start RHP Matt Cain in the opener of the
NL division series against Cincinnati on Saturday, and LHP
Madison Bumgarner in Game 2 on Sunday. ... Scutaro joined 3B
Pablo Sandoval and CF Angel Pagan as the first trio of Giants
with 20-plus-game hitting streaks in a season since 1918. ...
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly used his everyday lineup with one
exception. C A.J. Ellis got the day off and was replaced by
rookie Tim Federowicz. ... Ellis finished his first full season
in the major leagues with a .270 average, 13 home runs and 52
RBIs. ... The Dodgers' season attendance of 3,324,246 was
third-best in the NL. ... Dodgers organist Nancy Bea Hefley
signed a three-year contract extension. ... Wednesday marked the
61st anniversary of Bobby Thomson's pennant-clinching home run
off Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, known as the "Shot heard
`round the world."

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