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Clayton Kershaw Returns From Suspension To Face Giants

(Sports Network) - Clayton Kershaw ruffled some feathers the last time he faced the Giants.

Matt Cain's issues with the Dodgers goes back much further.

Kershaw returns from a five-game suspension, a ban that stems from an incident with the Giants, and Cain tries yet again for his first career victory versus the Dodgers as Los Angeles and San Francisco conclude a three-game set tonight at AT&T Park.

Kershaw drew his suspension for intentionally hitting San Francisco's Aaron Rowand with a pitch in the seventh inning during a July 20th start. The 22- year-old was ejected, along with manager Joe Torre, because both benches had already been warned after the Giants' Tim Lincecum had previously hit Matt Kemp with a pitch in the fifth frame.

Kershaw appealed the suspension, allowing him to beat the Mets on Sunday with eight scoreless innings, but he dropped his appeal on Monday even though he still disagreed with the penalty.

"I don't think it was handled right," Kershaw told the Dodgers' website on Tuesday. "I don't agree with the umpire's view of it, with a lot of stuff that happened. That's the purpose of the appeal, but I'll just have to deal with the consequences, and that's all there is to it. Five games is a little much. I don't think I should miss a start for it."

The left-hander, who is 10-5 with a 2.96 earned run average this year, is still in search of his first decision versus the Giants. In four games, including three starts, he has a 1.71 ERA.

Cain has gotten plenty of decisions versus the Dodgers, just the wrong kind. He is 0-8 with a 4.32 ERA in 14 career starts versus the division-rival Dodgers and has faced the club just once this year, taking a loss on June 29 after yielding four runs over five innings.

The 25-year-old righty is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in three starts since a four- decision losing streak and got a no-decision versus the Marlins on Tuesday after giving up three runs on four hits over seven frames of work.

On the season, Cain is 8-8 with a 3.14 ERA and 5-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 10 outings at home.

The Giants have taken the first two games of this series and are in position to sweep the Dodgers for the first time since April 24-26, 2007 in Los Angeles.

San Francisco's offense struggled through most of Saturday's game before Pat Burrell smacked a two-run homer off LA closer Jonathan Broxton with two outs in the eighth inning to lead the Giants to a 2-1 victory.

The win was San Francisco's fourth in five games and eighth in their last 10. The club also moved within 1 1/2 games of San Diego for first place in the National League West. Los Angeles is seven games back.

"Every game is important. We have to approach every game like it's crunch time, because in reality it is," Burrell said.

Pitching on three days' rest, Chad Billingsley allowed just two hits and two walks over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. However, he got a no-decision because the offense could only manager Casey Blake's solo homer.

"We're digging ourselves a deeper hole that we're going to have to come back out of," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

Los Angeles was without Andre Ethier, who left the club due to the birth of his second child. He is likely to miss tonight as well.

Los Angeles had won six of nine from the Giants this season prior to this series.

Both the Dodgers and Giants made moves before Saturday's non-waiver trade deadline. Los Angeles got starter Ted Lilly and infielder Ryan Theriot from the Cubs as well as reliever Octavio Dotel from the Pirates.

The Giants, meanwhile, acquired a pair of relievers in Ramon Ramirez from the Red Sox and Javier Lopez from the Pirates.