While the Giants sat around gazing at their NL Wild Card lead, the Dodgers went out and got to work...beating the Padres behind the arm of ace Clayton Kershaw, who won his major-league-leading 18th game. Kershaw's 18-3 record is apparently the best since Orel Hershiser's 19-3 back in 1985, so if he isn't thought of as a legitimate MVP contender, it's a conspiracy. Kershaw even tried to argue with manager Don Mattingly to come out and pitch the the ninth inning, but Mattingly preferred to watch Pedro Baez give up a run (a solo Yasmandi Grandal shot) in the top of the ninth.
The fourth inning was fruitful for the Dodgers, when Yasiel Puig's single and A.J. Ellis' ground out scored two to extend the lead to 4-1. The fifth inning kept the Dodgers rolling when Matt Kemp doubled in Hanley Ramirez, and Carl Crawford hit a three-run HR to open up a 8-1 lead. And that was more than what Kershaw needed, rolling to victory on an efficient 89 pitches (3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks).
A 3.5 game lead this late in the season is great, but we are going to need some margin heading into SF this weekend. Hold on to your hats.