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Kershaw opposes Giants, looking to end Dodgers' skid

SAN FRANCISCO -- Left-hander Clayton Kershaw will seek to end the Los Angeles Dodgers' 11-game losing streak while at the same time achieving two pieces of individual glory when he pitches against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.

The Dodgers waited out two rain delays for a total of 3 hours, 32 minutes Monday night, only to blow a 5-4 lead in an 8-6 loss that manager Dave Roberts labeled "disappointing."

"I thought we were going to win that game," Roberts said. "We put ourselves in a position to win. We just couldn't hold the lead."

The Dodgers (92-52) lost no ground to the second-place Diamondbacks (83-61) in the National League West, retaining a nine-game lead thanks to Arizona's loss to the Colorado Rockies earlier in the evening.

Los Angeles did, however, see its lead over the idle Washington Nationals (88-55) shrink to 3 1/2 games in the battle for best record in the NL.

The Dodgers and Nationals meet in Washington later in the week.

Kershaw (16-3, 2.15 ERA) will attempt to get the Dodgers back on a winning track against one of his long-time rivals, Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto (7-7, 4.43 ERA).

The lefty will be making his 39th career start and 40th overall appearance against the Giants. Kershaw has gone 20-9 with a 1.62 ERA in the previous meetings, striking out 295 in 283 1/3 innings.

A 21st win against the Giants would make Kershaw the first active pitcher to beat two different teams 21 or more times. He currently sports a 21-7 record against the Rockies.

The only other active pitchers to beat an opponent 21 or more times are Felix Hernandez (24-9 against the Oakland A's), Justin Verlander (23-10 against the Kansas City Royals), CC Sabathia (21-14 against the Detroit Tigers) and Bartolo Colon (21-9 against the Texas Rangers).

Kershaw also has an opportunity to become just the third active pitcher to record 300 or more strikeouts against one opponent. Verlander has 341 career strikeouts against the Cleveland Indians, while Hernandez has 334 against the Los Angeles Angels.

Kershaw added to both his totals when he beat the Giants 6-1 in San Francisco on May 17. He struck out five in seven scoreless innings that day.

He also had a 2-1 win and 4-3 loss against the Giants earlier this season, facing Cueto on both of those occasions.

Kershaw and Cueto have gone head-to-head four times in their careers, with each team winning twice. The first two meetings came while Cueto pitched for the Cincinnati Reds.

Cueto is coming off one of his best outings of the season. He held the Rockies to one run and five hits in five innings in an 11-3 win last Wednesday.

Cueto has gone 6-7 with a 3.21 ERA in 16 career starts against the Dodgers.

He will be backed Tuesday night by a team that had to work until 2:10 a.m. PDT to scratch out a rain-delayed win in the series opener.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy hopes the triumph over the playoff-contending rival from the south will have a carryover effect for the Giants (57-89).

"These guys showed a lot of character going out there and playing like that," Bochy said, noting his team made a long flight home from Chicago the night before. "I mean, hard-fought game, great ballgame back and forth. We found a way to get a win. It shows a lot about these guys that they were out there fighting."

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