SAN FRANCISCO — They don't have cable TV in the visitors' clubhouse here, so only the Giants were watching the Houston Astros' win over the Atlanta Braves Friday night.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, were watching the Miami Dolphins play the Cleveland Browns.
Just as well. After being punted, 5-1, by the Giants Friday night, the deflated Dodgers might profit as much from paying attention to the National Football League as to the National League West.
The loss dropped the Dodgers 10 games behind Houston, the furthest they have been out of first place since they finished fourth, 13 games behind San Diego, in 1984.
The second-place Giants, meanwhile, are trying to hold off the locals' interest in the 49ers while attempting to catch the Astros, whom they trail by five games.
Giant pitcher Mike Krukow struck out 12 Dodgers, matching his career high, and took a shutout into the ninth inning, when the Dodgers scored their only run on a single by Len Matuszek and a double by Mike Scioscia.
"We got our butts kicked three times in L.A.," said Krukow, who tipped his cap, raised his fist and blew kisses to the fans remaining to cheer him following his postgame TV interview.
"We had a lot to prove tonight."
So did the Dodgers, who could have offered some evidence that they had arrived here less than totally demoralized after losing three of four in Houston.
They didn't. Dodger left-hander Dennis Powell tried, matching zeroes with Krukow for five innings, but Giant rookie Will Clark broke his shutout with a two-run home run in the sixth.
The Giants scored twice more in the inning on Jose Uribe's double, and Clark hit his second homer of the night off reliever Joe Beckwith in the eighth.
"I don't think the games in Houston had anything to do with tonight, do you?" Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said. "We just didn't hit."
The Dodgers went out there swinging with one hand tied behind their back, as Bill Madlock (stiff back) joined Dodger spectators Mariano Duncan (sore calf) and Mike Marshall (back).
The win was the 100th of Krukow's career. The loss, meanwhile, was the Dodgers' seventh in nine games on this trip, a source of great glee among the 36,436 fans at Candlestick Park.
"He isn't exactly . . . did you think he pitched good?" Lasorda said, referring to Krukow.
A reporter said it appeared that way, judging by the results.
"If you're judging by the results, he pitched a good ballgame," Lasorda said.
It sounded like an invitation to read between the lines, but Lasorda would have none of it. "Just write down what I say," he said.
The Giants, who led the West by a game at the All-Star break, are only 13-15 since then.
"They're going through the same thing we're going through," Madlock said. "A lot of injuries. Losing (Jeffrey) Leonard was like us losing Pete (Guerrero)."
Leonard is on the disabled list with an injury to his right wrist that has bothered him all season.
"And I don't even know who their pitchers are," Madlock added.
Obviously, he wasn't referring to Krukow, a National League All-Star who was making just his second start since bruising his ribs during a brawl with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Krukow gave up a leadoff single to Steve Sax, but that promising start was stricken when an overzealous Sax was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.
The Giant right-hander didn't allow another baserunner until Scioscia's two-out single in the fifth.
In the sixth, Powell mounted the Dodgers' first scoring threat with a ground-ball double into the Dodger bullpen. When Sax followed with a grounder into the hole, shortstop Uribe attempted to nail Powell at third, but his throw was high, and Powell slid in safely.
With Bill Russell at the plate, Lasorda called for a squeeze, but Russell's bunt rolled foul. On the next pitch, the Giants pitched out, and catcher Bob Brenly threw out Sax attempting to steal.
Russell eventually walked, but Krukow buried Franklin Stubbs with a full-count, split-fingered fastball, ending the inning.
The slumping Stubbs, who has not been used in the same place in the order for two consecutive games on this trip--he has hit from the No. 2 to the No. 8 spots--was not the only Dodger done in by the split-fingered fastball. Cleanup batter Matuszek, who is 3 for 25 since hitting two homers against the Astros Aug. 6, struck out in his first three at-bats.
Fittingly, the game ended with Jeff Hamilton taking a called third strike.
The situation for the Dodgers? Fourth down and long.