Sweep sends Giants home happy 

click to enlarge Have a game: Giants infielder Joaquin Arias went 3-for-4 with five RBIs, playing a big role in finishing off a sweep of the Dodgers. - KIRBY LEE/US PRESSWIRE
  • Kirby Lee/US PRESSWIRE
  • Have a game: Giants infielder Joaquin Arias went 3-for-4 with five RBIs, playing a big role in finishing off a sweep of the Dodgers.

Joaquin Arias homered and drove in five runs and Matt Cain tossed seven strong innings as the visiting Giants completed their first three-game sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles since 2007 with an 8-4 win.

Cain (13-5) gave up one run on seven hits with no walks for the Giants, who moved 2½ games ahead of the Dodgers in the National League West.

San Francisco, which swept the Dodgers at home in June this season before Los Angeles returned the favor at AT&T Park in July, scored three runs in the first on Pablo Sandoval’s sacrifice fly and Arias’ two-run shot off Chris Capuano (11-9), who was pulled with no outs in the sixth after Sandoval’s RBI single.

Shawn Tolleson replaced Capuano and promptly gave up Arias’ run-scoring double before walking Justin Christian with the bases loaded. Christian later provided the defensive play of the game with his diving catch on Juan Rivera’s liner to deep left field in the seventh.

Arias continued his impressive night with a two-run double in the seventh, and the Dodgers scored three runs in the eighth before Santiago Casilla induced A.J. Ellis to ground into an inning-ending double play.

The Giants never trailed in the series, and starting pitchers Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Cain allowed just two earned runs with 19 strikeouts and one walk.

Matt Kemp went 1-for-5 and is 2-for-25 in his last seven games for Los Angeles, which hit five doubles but fell to 6-12 at home since the All-Star break.

The Giants’ schedule doesn’t get any easier as they open a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves, who are in the driver’s seat for the top NL wild card, today at AT&T Park.

NOTES: Giants catcher Buster Posey was scratched from the starting lineup with a tight hamstring. ... San Francisco improved to 48-16 when scoring first. ... Dodgers right-hander Rubby De La Rosa gave up two runs in his first appearance since having Tommy John surgery last year. ... Since 2010, Cain is 32-1 in the 46 games he has received at least three runs of support. ... The two rivals will meet six more times, including a season-ending three-game set at Chavez Ravine.

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