Giants beat Dodgers 8-1 to avoid sweep

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Madison Bumgarner(notes) didn’t have much problem handling the Los Angeles Dodgers while stopping another losing streak for the Giants.

Convincing manager Bruce Bochy to let him finish out the season may be a bit more difficult.

San Francisco’s most reliable starter over the last three weeks, Bumgarner has already logged more than 186 innings on the mound this season. With their postseason hopes dimming almost every day, the Giants plan to take a cautious approach the rest of the way with their young left-hander.

“We had a little concern, not much, with how much he pitched the year before,” Bochy said after Bumgarner allowed three hits over five innings in San Francisco’s 7-1 win Sunday. “I just like where he’s at right now. He worked hard today but made some great pitches.”

Bumgarner won his fourth straight start, Pablo Sandoval(notes) doubled home the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and the Giants beat the Dodgers to avoid a three-game sweep.

Bumgarner (11-12) struck out eight and walked three, matching the longest winning streak of his career and improving to 8-3 with a 2.73 ERA since June 26.

“I’m just making better pitches and having a little better luck at the same time,” Bumgarner said while insisting his arm strength is fine despite closing in on the 200-inning mark.

“I don’t know if I’ve gotten stronger. I still feel good. I’m not worried about wins and losses for me. The biggest thing is innings. You want to stay out there and pitch late. That’s probably the most important thing.”

Six of Bumgarner’s victories, including each of the last four, have came after Giants losses.

It’s probably too little too late for the defending World Series champions, who snapped a three-game losing streak and trail NL West-leading Arizona by 8 1/2 games. When San Francisco scored two runs in the fifth and five in the sixth, it marked the first time since July 3 that the Giants scored multiple runs in consecutive innings.

Slumping Aubrey Huff(notes) had two hits and a bases-loaded walk in his first start since Monday. Sandoval finished with a career-high three doubles, tying a Giants regular-season record at AT&T Park.

“It seems to be starting a little late,” Huff said. “You could tell when we got a three-run lead, everyone relaxed and we started scoring more.”

Tony Gwynn Jr.(notes) doubled in the Dodgers’ run but struck out with the potential tying run at second base in the sixth. Los Angeles lost for only the third time in 13 games.

San Francisco had gone 18 consecutive scoreless innings until breaking through against starter Hiroki Kuroda(notes), who had not lost in four previous appearances at the Giants.

Sandoval drove in Jeff Keppinger(notes) for a 2-1 lead in the fifth and Huff followed with an RBI single on an 0-2 pitch. In a 5-for-36 (.139) slump coming in, Huff also walked with the bases loaded against Scott Elbert(notes) during a five-run sixth.

In the second, Huff doubled leading off after initially thinking he had a home run. The ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back onto the field, but second base umpire John Hirschbeck ruled the ball was still in play. Umpires upheld the call following a video review.

It was reminiscent of San Francisco’s win over Texas in Game 2 of the World Series last year when the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler(notes) hit a ball to almost the same spot as Huff did. Kinsler was also given a double on the play.

Three batters later, Eli Whiteside(notes) singled in Huff with San Francisco’s first run.

“I was touching first and everybody thought it was a homer,” Huff said. “I’m like, ‘Homer? I hit it high enough to get out?’ I scored, so it’s kind of a moot point.”

Kuroda (11-16) allowed three runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing since getting only 12 outs against San Diego on Aug. 2 last year.

“For the most part it looks like he isn’t able to locate like he usually does,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Everybody is entitled to this kind of stretch. He’s not going to cave in. It’s not like he’s missing with everything.”

Cody Ross(notes) hit a bases-loaded double and pinch-hitter Mark De Rosa added a two-run single in the sixth.

Los Angeles scored its lone run in the second and had a chance for more with the bases loaded before Bumgarner worked his way out of it. He got Kuroda to ground into a force play at home then retired Dee Gordon(notes) on a comebacker.

The Dodgers managed only four runners the rest of the way and ended their trip 7-3.

NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game to commemorate the victims of 9/11. There was no ceremonial first pitch; instead, Bochy walked out to the field alone and left a ball on the pitching mound. … The previous San Francisco player to have three doubles in one home game was Nate Schierholtz(notes) on Sept. 24, 2008. … The Giants activated LHP Barry Zito(notes) from the 15-day DL. Bochy plans to use Zito as a spot starter and out of the bullpen. … Eric Surkamp(notes) (1-0) pitches for San Francisco in the series opener against San Diego on Monday. The rookie lefty beat the Padres on Sept. 6 for his only career win in the majors. … Dodgers LHP Ted Lilly(notes) (9-13), who tied his season high of nine strikeouts in his previous start, will pitch for Los Angeles in the opener of a three-game set with Arizona.

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