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LAD@SF: Eveland hurls seven shutout frames

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dana Eveland made like Clayton Kershaw on Saturday night, shutting down the retreating Giants in a 3-0 win by the streaking Dodgers, who reached .500 for the first time since May 2.

The Dodgers have won four straight and 15 of their last 18, are 7-2 on the current trip that ends Sunday, have pulled within 2 1/2 games of the second-place Giants and have won six consecutive series for the first time since 2008.

Don Mattingly, whose club was 14 games under .500 July 6, grudgingly acknowledged some satisfaction at reaching break-even.

"Yeah, for now," said an underwhelmed Mattingly. "But it's not over. Just every day we've got to keep playing. You feel good getting to .500, that's for sure, but it still doesn't do you a lot of good. From where we've been, to get there is one thing. It's like getting to the big leagues is easy, but can you stay? We're not really talking about getting to .500, just playing every day and there's no reason to change now and have a letdown."

Mattingly at least was impressed with Eveland, who blew out a hamstring during the first drill of Spring Training and never had a chance to impress the manager in Arizona. The 27-year-old journeyman lefty was called up last week to take over the rotation spot of 21-year-old Nathan Eovaldi and has pitched even better in his two starts for the Dodgers than he did in his All-Star season at Triple-A Albuquerque, where he went 12-8 with a 4.38 ERA.

After limiting the Pirates to one run over eight innings Sept. 1, he handcuffed the Giants on three hits over seven-plus scoreless innings and is 3-0 lifetime against the Giants.

"He keeps pitching like that, it's hard to count a guy out," Mattingly said when asked if Eveland could pitch his way into the rotation picture for 2012. "It's the second time he's pitched like that. Both times he gives you a lot of different looks, changes speeds, has the changeup."

Eveland was signed last winter as a non-roster invitee, having been traded from Oakland to Pittsburgh to Toronto last year and spending the winter rehabbing after surgery to remove chips and spurs from his elbow.

"The last two seasons I had a bit of a sore elbow and got it fixed," said Eveland. "I was trying to protect my arm last year and my pitches weren't doing what they're supposed to do."

But in this game, Eveland threw four pitches for strikes and said adjusting to pitching in the Pacific Coast League has made him a better pitcher in the Major Leagues.

"In Albuquerque, you can't overpower guys, especially with what I feature," he said. "I've always been a ground-ball guy, especially this year."

Eveland escaped the only real Giants threat in the fourth inning, when with two outs, Pablo Sandoval singled and was doubled to third by Brett Pill, but third baseman Justin Sellers flagged down Brandon Belt's line drive over third to end the inning.

"That was huge," said Eveland, one of five starters in the Dodgers lineup Saturday night that played most of the season at Albuquerque, along with Sellers, Dee Gordon, Jerry Sands and A.J. Ellis.

Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless inning, taking over after Eveland walked Hector Sanchez leading off the eighth, and Javy Guerra pitched the ninth for his 18th save.

Leading the offense, Juan Rivera had three hits and an RBI, while James Loney and Matt Kemp each tripled and scored a run.

Loney, praised before the game by general manager Ned Colletti for rediscovering "pull-side power" in recent weeks, put the Dodgers on the board in the second inning by tripling to right-center off Ryan Vogelsong and scoring on Sands" broken-bat groundout.

Kemp apparently thought the triple was a good idea, and he duplicated it down the right-field line leading off the fourth inning and scored on Rivera's sharp single off the glove of first baseman Pill. Loney and Sands followed with infield singles to load the bases, and the inning turned even stranger when Vogelsong was called for a balk that allowed Rivera to score.

Rivera is batting .311 since joining the Dodgers at the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, combined with the one unearned run the Giants scored off Kershaw on Friday night, they haven't scored an earned run in the series.

"It comes down to we're bad right now with the bat. We're awful. There's no other way to say it," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "We're getting the right guys up there and we're not getting it done. It's frustrating. It's not like we're not trying, but it's not happening. That's what makes it even tougher in these types of games. It's amazing. It really is." Comments