The Dodgers did what they had to against San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum. A late wild pitch by reliever Blake Hawksworth let it all go to waste.
Aaron Rowand tripled leading off the seventh and scored the go-ahead run moments later on Hawksworth's wild pitch, and the Giants beat Los Angeles 5-4 on Tuesday night.
"It just shows you how good of a team they are," said infielder Jamey Carroll, who struck out against San Francisco closer Brian Wilson to end the game. "When you don't win, regardless of the situation, it's disappointing. They got a couple of big hits when they needed to, then capitalized on the (wild pitch)."
That was enough to send the Dodgers to only their second loss in five games this year against the defending World Series champions.
This one might sting a little more because Los Angeles knocked Lincecum, the two-time NL Cy Young winner, out of the game in the sixth inning but couldn't finish the job.
"You hear it all around baseball, shutdown innings," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. "It wasn't like (Billingsley) made bad pitches there. They hit the ball here. I thought he threw the ball OK tonight but they hit some good pitches."
Billingsley, a 12-game winner each of the last two seasons, is off to a rough beginning this year. The righty beat the Giants in Los Angeles in his first start but lasted just three innings against Colorado on April 6.
He faced the minimum through 3 1-3 innings against San Francisco before the Giants broke through for two runs in the fourth and two in the fifth.
"It was just one of those days," said Billingsley, who struck out six and walked two. "The ball found holes but I mean overall I felt like I had pretty good command of all my pitches. Today I wanted to get ahead of hitters and I was able to do that. Things don't go the way you want to and you can't do anything about it."
Rowand, filling in for injured center fielder Andres Torres, added an RBI single in the fifth. The triple was his fifth in the regular season in five years.
Jeremy Affeldt (1-0) earned the win despite allowing Thames' tying homer to start the top of the seventh. Wilson struck out the side in the ninth for his first save in two chances. He had a majors-leading 48 last season.
Hawksworth (1-1) took the loss for Los Angeles.
The highlight for the hard-throwing Lincecum in his home debut came on defense. He stopped Andre Ethier's hard grounder to start the sixth with a fancy play. The ball came off his glove and landed between the mound and second base. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner chased it down with a nifty sliding, spinning move and fired to first while on both knees.
He then allowed back-to-back singles to Matt Kemp and James Loney before plunking 2010 teammate Juan Uribe for the second time this year to load the bases. Lincecum's night was done after he hit Uribe. Uribe pointed at his left shoulder area and signaled with two fingers to plate umpire Sam Holbrook that it was the second time Lincecum hit him this year.
In the seventh, Thames clobbered an 0-1 off-speed pitch from Affeldt and sent it about halfway up the left-field bleachers for his sixth career pinch-hit homer. It was his first since June 8, 2009, against the White Sox in Chicago while with the Tigers.
But the Giants got it right back in the bottom half when Rowand started a rally with his triple.
Pablo Sandoval doubled in the fourth to pull the Giants to 3-2, driving a low pitch down the first-base line. First baseman Loney had moved back about 10 feet on the 3-2 pitch to guard against the ball down the line, but lunged toward second and couldn't recover.
The Dodgers played without two key members of their infield. Shortstop and leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal was placed on the 15-day disabled list after he broke his left thumb while sliding headfirst into third base on a steal during Monday night's 6-1 win.
While he won't need surgery, Furcal is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks.
Carroll will pick up much of the load at shortstop and Uribe also will get time there. Buster Posey's RBI single in the fifth glanced off the glove of a lunging Carroll.
Third baseman Casey Blake missed his third straight start with a deep thigh bruise on his left leg that happened when San Diego baserunner Chase Headley's knee got him in a collision Saturday. He hopes to be back for Wednesday's series finale.
Notes: Hawksworth's wild pitch was only the second of his career in 80 overall appearances. ... Matt Kemp has reached safely in 15 of his 23 plate appearances this season. ... Thames' homer was the sixth of his career as a pinch-hitter and first since June 8, 2009 when he was with Detroit. ... Ethier has a nine-game hitting streak. ... 1B Belt took flyballs in RF for the second straight day and manager Bruce Bochy is considering switching him out there for a game soon and bringing Aubrey Huff in to play 1B. Belt's fourth-inning error was the Giants' 10th in 11 games. ... The Giants raised nearly $70,000 to help longtime fan Bryan Stow, who was severely beaten outside Dodger Stadium on March 31. ... The Giants sold out their fifth straight home game to start the year and 15th in a row dating to last Oct. 1 for the opener of a season-ending series vs. San Diego.