The San Francisco Giants completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers with an 8-4 victory on Wednesday to move further clear of their National League West rivals going into the closing weeks of the regular season.
The Giants (69-55) entered the series trailing the Dodgers (67-58) by half a game in the division but left Los Angeles riding high with a 2 1/2-game advantage.
Matt Cain (13-5) controlled the series finale and the Dodgers' offense, tossing seven innings and allowing just one run to win his third straight start.
Joaquin Arias homered in the first inning to give the visitors a 3-0 lead, as he finished 3-for-5 with a career-high five RBIs, and San Francisco held a healthy 8-1 advantage before surrendering three late runs that flattered the hosts.
With All Star Melky Cabrera suspended for 50 games last week for failing a drugs test and catcher Buster Posey sitting out with a tight right hamstring, the Giants were happy to receive extra support from unlikely sources.
"That's what's going to happen to any team trying to make the playoffs or make it deep into the playoffs," Cain told reporters. "You have to have different guys do things at different times to pull you along."
Pablo Sandoval added two RBIs while Angel Pagan had two hits and three runs scored for the Giants.
The Dodgers swept San Francisco late last month to heat up the pennant race but found themselves on the receiving end of a fired-up Giants in the rematch.
Starter Chris Capuano gave up six runs in five innings to take the loss and the home team could do little against Cain, who pitched a perfect game earlier this season.
Los Angeles tried to make things interesting in the eighth, when they scored three runs and had two men on base but A.J. Ellis grounded into an inning-ending double-play.
"It was a surprising series for me, really," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I felt like coming off the road we'd play well. We just didn't do enough to win."
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)