The Los Angeles Dodgers figure to be a more dangerous team with a healthy Matt Kemp back in the mix, but it has been shortstop Hanley Ramirez that has keyed the club's current surge.
Ramirez and the Dodgers look to sweep the San Francisco Giants in Los Angeles for the first time since 2009 as the clubs wrap a three-game set on Wednesday night.
Kemp returned to action for the first time since May 29 in Tuesday's 6-5 victory, going 1-for-4 with a run scored while also making a game-saving catch to end the contest.
But with young rookie Yasiel Puig turning in a rare 0-for-4 performance, Ramirez stepped up and went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer to extend his hitting streak to eight straight games. He is batting .467 over his hit streak with four homers and 10 RBI, lifting his season average to .361.
Mark Ellis also hit a two-run homer to help the Dodgers' extend their winning streak to a season-high four straight games, but not without some drama.
Former L.A. closer Brandon League came on to pitch the ninth with current closer Kenley Jansen unavailable after having appeared in three straight games. All three batters that League faced reached base, with Brandon Belt and Andrew Torres driving in runs with a double and single, respectively.
Paco Rodriguez relieved League and gave up a single before retiring the final three batters to earn his first career save. He was helped by Kemp, who tracked down a Marco Scutaro fly ball to deep center at the warning track.
"Scutaro hit it pretty good. He usually doesn't drive it like that, but I was able to catch it," Kemp said. "I am excited to be back with the team, it feels good."
Belt and Buster Posey homered for the Giants, who have lost five of six and eight of their past 11 contests to fall a game under .500 at 38-39. It is the latest San Francisco has had a losing record in a season since concluding the 2008 campaign at 72-90.
Mike Kickham was tagged for six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings to absorb the loss.
The Dodgers had lost five in a row and 11 of their previous 15 to the Giants before this series and can now record their first home sweep in this rivalry since taking all three games of a set that spanned four days from April 13-16 in 2009.
L.A. did notch a three-game sweep over the Giants in San Francisco a season ago.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw hopes to lock down his first victory since May 20 and continue his career-long success versus the Giants in the process.
The 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner kicked off his campaign with a four-hit shutout of the Giants at home on April 1 and also pitched well in a 2-1 no- decision at San Francisco on May 3. He gave up one run over seven innings, leaving him with lifetime numbers of 9-4 with a 1.28 earned run average in 19 games (18 starts) of this series.
The 25-year-old southpaw is 0-3 with a 3.38 ERA in six starts since his last win however, yielding more than three earned runs in a game twice over that span. That includes Friday's 5-2 loss at San Diego as Kershaw yielded four runs on seven hits over six frames. He also struck out seven to one walk.
"I have to limit the damage with guys on base. Solo home runs you can live with, but two-run triples you can't. That's what happened tonight. It happened real quick, just one big inning, but it did me in and it was enough," Kershaw said.
In 16 starts this season, Kershaw is 5-5 with a 2.06 ERA.
Tim Lincecum looks to extend his recent surge of statistical success in tonight's finale for the Giants.
The two-time former NL Cy Young Award winner is just 4-7 in 15 starts this season with a 4.52 ERA. That included a rough three-start span from May 18-29 in which he lost each outing while posting a combined 8.27 ERA.
However, in four starts since Lincecum has logged an ERA of 2.92, but is just 1-2. He pitched well in a no-decision versus Miami on Friday, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk over seven innings. Lincecum also fanned eight in his club's 6-3 setback.
The 29-year-old's rough season began with a victory over the Dodgers on April 3, though it was far from a successful outing from Lincecum. He lasted five innings and was charged with a pair of unearned runs, working around three hits and seven walks.
In 20 career meetings with Los Angeles, all but one of those starts, Lincecum is 8-5 with a 2.69 ERA.