LOS ANGELES -- In a pitcher duel between two former aces, consider this one a push -- and a victory for the San Francisco Giants.
Neither the Giants' Tim Lincecum nor the Los Angeles Dodgers' Josh Beckett looked dominating, but Lincecum was good enough to help the Giants beat the Dodgers 5-3 on Wednesday night at sold-out Dodger Stadium.
With the win, the Giants took the opening series of the season against their heated rivals -- on the road no less -- as the won two of three games from the Dodgers.
Now the Giants head north for their home opener at AT&T Park, where they will collect their second World Series rings in three years.
The Dodgers spent all the money last winter, and on paper it looks like they've closed the gap on the World Champions. But for now, anyway, the Giants remain on top.
Lincecum had a lot to do with that Wednesday, as did the woeful middle of the Dodgers order, which is big on names and salary right now but small on production. At least through three games.
Lincecum, who finished 10-15 last year with a 5.18 ERA and struggled this spring with a 0-3 record and a 10.57 ERA, surrendered a first-inning run. However, he benefited from a four-run third by his offense -- including Pablo Sandoval's two-run home run.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner left after five innings, allowing three hits and two runs, one of which was earned.
Beckett was making his first start of the season, but it was significant considering the wobbly year he suffered through last season and the abundance of starters the Dodgers have at their disposal.
While the scoreboard wasn't kind to Beckett after five innings, the Giants leading 4-1, a closer look reveals Beckett may have been more effective than the score showed.
Only two of the Giants' four runs in the third inning were earned thanks to an error by second baseman Skip Schumaker.
Otherwise Beckett was mostly effective while giving up six hits and five runs -- three earned over six innings, including home runs to Sandoval and Hunter Pence.
But with Matt Kemp going 0 for 4 and stranding six runners and Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier combining to go 0 for 9, the Dodgers offense was of little help for the second straight night.
NOTES: Buster Posey got the start for the Giants at first base rather than at catcher. ... The Giants went with Hector Sanchez. ... The Dodgers opted to move Luis Cruz over the shortstop and sit Justin Sellers, who had two throwing errors the night before. Juan Uribe got the start at third.