Giants Sweep Dodgers, Add To NL West Lead

Aug 22, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Joaquin Arias (13) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

The Giants are 7-5 against the Dodgers this season.

The San Francisco Giants took control of the National League West on Wednesday night as they swept away the Los Angeles Dodgers with an 8-4 win at Dodger Stadium. San Francisco now owns a division lead of two and a half games over their longtime rivals.

The last time the Giants swept the Dodgers in a three-game series in Los Angeles was April 24-26, 2007. It was the third consecutive sweep between these two clubs this season. The Giants swept the Dodgers in San Francisco from June 25-27, and the Dodgers returned the favor by taking three straight games at AT&T Park from July 27-29.

Matt Cain (13-5) allowed just one run in seven innings to win his third straight game, and he was supported on offense by a pair of unheralded teammates.

Joaquin Arias blasted a two-run home run and doubled twice, part of his career-high five runs batted in. Arias, who had one home run in his first 79 games of the season, has homered twice in his last five games, hitting .563 (9-for-16) during that span.

Angel Pagan had two hits, a walk, and scored three runs, wrapping up a stellar series at Chavez Ravine. In three games against the Dodgers Pagan had seven hits, including one double in each game, and scored six runs. He has a six-game hitting streak.

Arias and Pagan have helped the Giants in the absence of the suspended Melky Cabrera, as San Francisco has averaged 5.29 runs per game in a week without their starting left fielder, winning five or seven games.

The two-run home run by Arias punctuated a three-run first inning against Chris Capuano, a deficit from which the Dodgers never recovered. Capuano (11-9) in his five innings allowed six runs, the most he has allowed in any home start this season.

Andre Ethier came into the game in a 1-for-22 slump, and was nearly scratched with a ruptured blister in his right hand, a blister that manager Don Mattingly called "a monster" after the game. Ethier remained in the lineup, and picked up two hits, including a double. The extra-base hit made him the first Dodger with six straight seasons of 30 or more doubles.

The sweep was deflating for the Dodgers, who returned home after a 7-3 road trip that included series wins over the playoff hopeful Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves.

"It's a surprising series for me really. I thought coming off the road we would play well, but we really didn't score any runs," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "The off day comes, and the season starts Friday."

That season starts at a disadvantage for the Dodgers, who now trail the Giants by three in the loss column with 37 games remaining.

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