- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - This clincher took place in the other clubhouse at AT&T; Park, and that was a strange sight for Madison Bumgarner and the World Series champions who won’t get their chance to defend.

“You take that, and you remember that feeling going into the offseason. It’s not a good feeling,” he said. “You don’t want to be a part of that. You want to be the one celebrating. You let it give you a little bit of fuel for next year.”

Bumgarner was outdone by Clayton Kershaw this time, and the rival Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their third straight NL West title with an 8-0 victory Tuesday night that eliminated the Giants from playoff contention.

The big lefty had been 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA in his previous 2015 outings opposing Kershaw, who had gone 0-2 with a 3.54 ERA in those starts. This time, Bumgarner even fought to get Kershaw out during a 13-pitch at-bat in the fifth when the opposing lefty finally grounded out.

Kershaw tossed a one-hitter and allowed just a third-inning single while striking out 13, and now he’ll get a chance to erase those sour postseason memories as the Dodgers (88-69) advance to face the NL East champion New York Mets in a best-of-five Division Series.

“I’ve been through it now a bunch, I think this is my fifth postseason now,” Kershaw said. “I don’t know if you can get wiser from failing all the time. I know what that feels like.”

Kershaw (16-7) finally got the best of his 2015 nemesis in the fourth matchup of the year against World Series MVP Bumgarner, striking out the side in order three times and retiring the final 19 batters as the Dodgers snapped a four-game losing streak. He is six strikeouts away from 300.

“There’s a little bit, if you don’t win this one then you’ve got two more and you start getting a little nervous, you start panicking a little bit,” Kershaw said. “We’ve still got something to play for. We’re still trying to fight the Mets for home-field advantage. It’s kind of a sigh of relief. We weren’t playing that well.”

Don Mattingly’s Dodgers earned a third straight playoff berth for the first time in franchise history, and did so by snapping a seven-game losing streak at AT&T; Park this year. It’s also their sixth postseason berth in 10 years.

When Kelby Tomlinson grounded out to end it and rookie shortstop Corey Seager made a nice throw to first, Kershaw raised both arms in the air as his teammates streamed out of the dugout. They all began hugging and dancing on the mound.

The Giants immediately offered a message on the main scoreboard: “CONGRATULATIONS, L.A. DODGERS! #RESPECTTHERIVALRY”

Manager Bruce Bochy has had his own message down the stretch, saying how proud he is of his injury-plagued club.

“It’s always tough. It’s never a fun feeling. Four concussions, three obliques and here we are on Sept. 29 and finally got knocked out,” he said. “We had an uphill battle and we faced a great pitcher today. When you go into the last week of baseball with a chance, and I told these guys, you have to be proud.”

Justin Ruggiano and Ellis hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth to chase Bumgarner (18-9), denying the Giants their first 19-game winner in 18 years.

Los Angeles players pulled on their new NL West champion caps and T-shirts before the party began on the other side of AT&T; Park than where clinching celebrations typically take place.

Andre Ethier added a two-run triple in a four-run eighth, and Los Angeles captured its 14th NL West title and earned their 29th playoff berth - 20th in Los Angeles. Ellis and Seager added run-scoring singles that inning.

“I didn’t have a whole lot the way I wanted. I was a little more emotional than I’d prefer to be,” Bumgarner said. “This time of year, coming in we still had a little hope.”

The only other time in the ballpark’s 16-year history that a visiting team clinched a playoff berth or series here was the Dodgers when they captured the NL wild card on the second-to-last day in 2006.

The Dodgers ended their longest skid in San Francisco since June 12, 1961-April 16, 1962, when they lost a franchise-worst nine straight road games in the rivalry.

Kevin Frandsen’s one-out single in the third was the Giants’ first baserunner against Kershaw.

But the defending champion Giants miss the playoffs in another odd year following a World Series win for the third time in six years - after their 2010, ‘12 and ‘14 titles.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: 2B Howie Kendrick returned to the starting lineup a day after sitting most of the night with tightness in his hamstring.

Giants: OF Nori Aoki will fly to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to be examined by renowned concussion specialist Dr. Micky Collins and if cleared still could be used off the bench as a pinch-hitter before season’s end. … Buster Posey, who caught Bumgarner, is likely to play 1B the rest of the way.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Mike Bolsinger (6-5) looks for his first career victory vs. San Francisco after going 0-3 with a 4.56 ERA in his first four starts.

Giants: RHP Mike Leake (10-10) is 2-4 with a 4.89 ERA in seven appearances and six starts lifetime against the Dodgers. He lost his lone start this year.


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