Giving the ball to Matt Cain may be just what they need as he looks to continue his success in the rivalry Saturday.
San Francisco (78-60) leads the division by 5 1/2 games over second-place Los Angeles (73-66), which is tied with Pittsburgh 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card spot.
"Ultimately we want to win the division but sometimes it is necessary to look outside the bubble," the Dodgers' Shane Victorino said. "The goal? It's about getting there. The first is to win the division."
The Giants took a step toward a second West title in three years by opening this three-game series with a 5-2 win Friday. San Francisco has won four in a row against Los Angeles since being swept in a three-game home set from July 27-29.
Cain (13-5, 2.98 ERA) looks to keep the Giants rolling, and he's 4-0 with a 2.02 ERA in seven starts versus the Dodgers, holding them to one or no runs in each of those victories. The most recent one came Aug. 22, when the right-hander yielded one run and seven hits in seven innings.
He's entering this meeting with a 3-0 record and 2.86 ERA in five games, all of them San Francisco victories. However, he struggled in his latest outing Sunday, giving up five runs with six strikeouts in five innings while not getting a decision in a 7-5 win at Chicago.
Marco Scutaro continues to make a major impact since being acquired from Colorado. He's batting .331 in 39 games since the deal and is 9 for 20 with four RBIs in four games after getting two hits and driving in two runs Friday.
"We needed somebody to come through for us and he has done that since he came over here, and really his whole career," manager Bruce Bochy said.
Scutaro is 10 for 24 in six meetings with the Giants versus the Dodgers, and he's a career .351 hitter in 25 games against them. He's also 4 for 8 against Saturday's scheduled starter - Chris Capuano .
Angel Pagan is hitting .341 with 22 runs over the past 20 games after collecting three hits and an RBI Friday. The center fielder is 10 for 17 while scoring seven times during the Giants' four-game winning streak against Los Angeles.
The Dodgers are on the verge of their first four-game skid since July 14-17, and Capuano (11-10, 3.63) is 0-4 with a 5.32 ERA in five games - three starts - at San Francisco.
The left-hander's only win in 11 games - seven starts - against the Giants came with Milwaukee in 2005, and he's 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts and seven games since.
Capuano was battered by them in losing to Cain last month, surrendering six runs and six hits in five innings of an 8-4 home defeat. That performance is part of a four-game stretch during which he's going 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA.
That win drought continued Sunday, when he allowed three runs and four hits - two homers - in five innings before Adrian Gonzalez 's two-run, walkoff double gave the Dodgers a 5-4 win over Arizona.
Adrian Gonzalez will try to rebound from his 0-for-4 performance Friday after collecting seven hits with three doubles and four RBIs over the previous four games.
The first baseman is hitting .321 with four homers versus Cain.
|Tony Gwynn Jr.||16||.188||3||0||0||0||3||.188||.376||.188|
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||10||.300||3||0||2||3||2||.462||.862||.400|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|September 03, 2012||Javy Guerra||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|September 01, 2012||Chris Withrow||60-Day DL||Recovery from torn pectoral muscle|
|August 31, 2012||Alfredo Silverio||60-Day DL||Recovery from auto accident, concussion|
|August 28, 2012||Matt Kemp||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee contusion|
|August 28, 2012||Scott Elbert||15-Day DL||Left elbow inflammation|
|August 25, 2012||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Strained hip and back|
|San Francisco Giants|
|September 06, 2012||Xavier Nady||Day-to-Day||Strained left hamstring|
|August 27, 2012||Clay Hensley||15-Day DL||Strained right groin|
|August 23, 2012||Justin Christian||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|August 23, 2012||Justin Christian||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|August 22, 2012||Buster Posey||Day-to-Day||Hamstring tightness|
|August 14, 2012||Brad Penny||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Adrian Gonzalez has been around all of two weeks, and he is certain the Los Angeles Dodgers are a playoff team. Whether NL West champions or wild card, he's not sure.
Hanley Ramirez helped the cause by hitting a go-ahead RBI double in the top of the ninth inning and the undermanned Dodgers trimmed a game off their division deficit with a 3-2 win over the first-place San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
It will take plenty more timely hits down the stretch for the Dodgers to return to the playoffs after a two-year absence. They've been hard to come by, too.
"We're getting there," Gonzalez said. "I don't know about winning the division. We're getting there somehow."
Gonzalez led off the ninth with a triple against Jeremy Affeldt (1-2), then Ramirez came through with a double to the gap in right-center - the Dodgers' first hit in 15 tries so far this series with runners in scoring position.
Gonzalez, who came to Los Angeles in an Aug. 25 trade from the Red Sox, clapped his hands when he reached third in a rare display of emotion. An inconsistent swing has given him fits all season.
"You guys don't go down the tunnel after at-bats. Helmets are being slammed and chairs are being thrown around," Gonzalez said. "It's actually true, absolutely."
Ronald Belisario (5-1) pitched out of trouble in the eighth for the victory, helping Los Angeles snap a four-game losing streak to rival San Francisco in a key September weekend.
"We need confidence," Ramirez said. "We've got to believe in ourselves and what kind of team we've got."
Buster Posey hit an RBI single in the first and Brandon Belt added a go-ahead RBI with a groundout in the eighth for the Giants, who lead the Dodgers by 4 1/2 games.
The Dodgers were without center fielder Matt Kemp because of his troublesome left shoulder. He received a cortisone shot and also won't play Sunday. Infielder Adam Kennedy is expected to be done for the season after injuring his groin during Friday's 5-2 loss. Manager Don Mattingly said Kennedy was hurt when the third baseman tried to barehand Hunter Pence 's infield bouncer for an RBI single in the sixth inning.
Los Angeles pulled through with players down as it has many times in 2012.
"It's going to be a fight and we know it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's our nature. We don't do anything easy in our games. There's a lot of baseball left."
Pinch-runner Alex Castellanos scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth to chase Giants starter Matt Cain . Juan Rivera doubled to start the inning and A.J. Ellis sacrificed him to third, where Castellanos entered. Bobby Abreu came in to pinch-hit and Cain threw wildly on a full count for ball four as Abreu drew a walk.
Santiago Casilla , Friday night's winning pitcher, relieved and escaped further damage but the Giants' bullpen couldn't pull off a second consecutive win.
Brandon League pitched the ninth for Los Angeles to earn his 11th save overall and second since joining the Dodgers from Seattle on July 30. He allowed Gregor Blanco 's two-out double before retiring pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez on a liner to third.
Cain, who tossed a perfect game June 13 at home against the Astros, worked into the eighth inning but wound up with a third straight no-decision. He allowed two runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked two.
Cain shut down the middle of the Dodgers lineup most of the way just as Tim Lincecum did a night earlier. That included Gonzalez, who came in with four career homers and 13 RBIs against Cain. Gonzalez's triple was his first hit of the day after he grounded into an inning-ending double play in the first and a pair of flyouts.
Cain threw two wild pitches in a game for just the second time after also doing so Aug. 29, 2010, against Arizona.
"The wild pitch is really frustrating right now," he said. "It's really aggravating right now."
Chris Capuano gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings but saw his winless stretch reach five starts since a victory at Miami on Aug. 12. He is 0-2 and has only one victory over his past nine outings.
The lefty is 1-6 in 12 career outings and eight starts against the Giants, including a loss Aug. 22 at Dodger Stadium.
After Posey's hit, he retired 12 straight before Blanco beat out an infield single that manager Don Mattingly argued with first-base umpire Brian O'Nora. Replays showed Capuano's foot hitting the bag before Blanco made it. But he was later out on a close play at third that drew Bochy out of the dugout for words with umpire Alfonso Marquez.
Capuano singled in the sixth and became just the second Dodgers player to get beyond first when he advanced on Mark Ellis ' single. The pitcher scored the tying run on Shane Victorino 's sacrifice fly.
Notes: Posey threw out three players trying to steal, a career high. ... The Dodgers won in a game started by Cain for just the second time in the past eight matchups. ... The Giants also lost for just the fifth time in their past 17 against NL West opponents. Their final 23 games come versus the division. ... Anyelina Pagan, 7, announced her father's plate appearance leading off the third inning as a Giants "junior announcer." She said, "my daddy, Angel Pagan ." ... On Sept. 8, 2004, the Dodgers became the first team in major league history to have pinch-hit grand slams in consecutive games when Olmedo Saenz delivered a day after Robin Ventura did it. ... LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-7) pitches in Sunday's finale for Los Angeles against fellow southpaw Barry Zito (10-8).