(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Francisco Giants are back on the west coast and will start the final leg of their 10-game road trip Thursday against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first of four straight games at Chavez Ravine.
The Giants swept the Atlanta Braves to open the cross-country sojourn, then won the opener of a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, the hosts evened the series with Tuesday's 2-1 win thanks to the majors' new replay system and took the set with a 4-3 victory Wednesday.
Pittsburgh scored two runs in each of the first two innings and the Giants pulled within a run on Brandon Belt's two-run double in the top of the fifth inning. The Giants never threatened the rest of the way and had won six straight and 10 of 11 games before the back-to-back defeats.
Belt also homered and starting pitcher Tim Lincecum was saddled with the loss for permitting all four runs and eight hits in four innings. The right-hander struck out two batters and walked two.
"I just wasn't finishing my pitches," said Lincecum. "Things were just rolling into the zone."
The Giants fell to 16-3 when scoring first this season.
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval was out of the starting lineup Wednesday because of an injured left thumb. He singled as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning and later scored on Belt's double.
Sandoval could be back in the lineup Thursday, when the Giants hand Ryan Vogelsong the ball. Vogelsong has been pitching well of late, going 2-0 with a 0.69 earned run average in his last two starts -- both San Francisco wins. He tossed seven shutout innings for a no-decision versus Cleveland on April 27 and held the Braves to a run in six innings of Saturday's 3-1 win.
Vogelsong, who started 0-1 with 7.71 ERA in his first four starts, is now 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA on the season. The right-hander will face the Dodgers for a third time this season and has posted two no-decisions, allowing five runs across 10 innings of work. Vogelsong is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 career games (12 starts) against Los Angeles.
The Dodgers are back home to play seven straight against the Giants and Miami Marlins, and went 5-4 on their recent trek. They took all three meetings in Minnesota at the start of the month, but then dropped two of three meetings to both Miami and Washington.
In Wednesday's 3-2 loss at Nationals Park, Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig stroked RBI singles in the first inning and Washington scored the next three runs to hold on. Adam LaRoche's two-run single in the bottom of the first tied the game and Denard Span scored on Wilson Ramos's sac fly in the fifth.
Dodgers starter Dan Haren was responsible for all three runs in the loss and lasted six innings with two strikeouts and a pair of walks. Haren permitted seven hits in his first loss of the season (4-1).
"Besides the first inning I held them down," Haren said.
Puig was back in the lineup after suffering headaches and missing two games following a collision with the right field wall at Nationals Park.
Josh Beckett will make his sixth start of the season and 14th in the past two years Thursday versus the NL West-rival Giants. Beckett pitched against the Giants in a 3-2 loss on April 15 and received a no-decision, as he fired five scoreless innings and allowed only two hits. He did walk five and fan four.
Beckett, the 2003 World Series MVP, lost at Miami last Friday and gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-3 setback. The right-hander has allowed six runs in the previous two starts and has a 3.14 ERA in 28 2/3 innings. Beckett has a 4-5 record and a 3.43 ERA in 10 career starts against San Francisco.
The Giants have played well this season against Los Angeles, going 4-2, and are 9-3 in the past 12 matchups between the division foes.