"Two runs in seven innings, for the most part that should keep you in the hunt." said manager Joe Torre. "Right now two runs, unfortunately, is really a very tall mountain for us to climb."
And if they can't score two runs, how will they make up eight games on first-place San Diego, or even 6 1/2 games on Wild Card leader San Francisco, now that they've fallen into fourth place?
"We really can't worry about that," Torre said of the standings. "Unless we play better, we are where we deserve to be. We've got to change that and change our personality and our confidence before we concern ourselves with how far back we are."
Edgar Renteria's two-run triple in the sixth inning -- which center fielder Matt Kemp said he could have caught if he hadn't lost sight of it in the sun -- accounted for the only runs in the Giants' first three-game series sweep of the Dodgers at AT&T Park since 2003.
The Dodgers went 1-5 on a trip through San Diego and San Francisco against the two teams ahead of them, scoring a total of 11 runs. But their struggles really date back to the All-Star break. They came out of it losing six straight, are 5-12 since the break and rank last in the league since then in runs scored. After dominating the division the first three months, they've lost a pair of series to the Giants and one to the Padres.
"I've been through this with other clubs, but this has lasted a long time, since the All-Star break," said Torre. "We're not consistently putting points on the board. We haven't been able to put pressure on the other team."
Torre said this is the worst hitting slump in his three years as Dodgers manager, "but the one you're in is always the worst one," he added.
Kershaw, returning from a five-game suspension that resulted from the last time he faced the Giants, allowed six hits over seven innings and deflected questions about pitching without run support. He won his last start, 1-0, over the Mets.
"He just pitched better than I did," Kershaw said of Cain. "One pitch and Renteria put a good swing on the ball. What are you going to do? Plenty of times you pitch five innings, give up four runs and get a win. I'm not worried about what the hitting does. My job is to put up zeros and he put up one more zero than I did. Earlier in the year, the offense picked up the pitchers. Right now the pitchers got to pick the hitters up. You'd like both to be clicking at the same time."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Cain deserved to finally beat the Dodgers.
"I'm sure it's been wearing on him," he said. "He hadn't beat the Dodgers and he's thrown some pretty good games. In his mind, it looked like it was time to put this behind him and he was going to go against a tough pitcher and match zeros with him."
Meanwhile, as the Giants made a series of defensive gems, the Dodgers committed a pair of errors that did not lead to runs, only to lose the game on a ball lost in the sun.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Pat Burrell doubled off the right-field wall. Kershaw caught Pablo Sandoval looking at a curveball for strike three, then intentionally walked Aaron Rowand to bring up Renteria, who was 0-for-10 lifetime against Kershaw.
Renteria sent a line drive to left-center. Kemp was playing Renteria straightaway and was standing in the sun, just in front of the shadow of the stadium rim as the sun set when Renteria connected.
"The ball went right into the sun," said Kemp. "I saw it, then it went into the sun and didn't come out of there."
It scooted past him to the fence as both runners scored and Renteria had a triple. Torre said he didn't think Kemp would have caught the ball regardless, but Kemp disagreed.
"Definitely," Kemp said when asked if he would have caught the ball had he seen it. "If the sun wasn't right there, I'm catching that ball."
In their Dodgers debuts, Ryan Theriot went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and Octavio Dotel pitched a scoreless eighth inning.